By Karine Kalantarian
Leading Armenian opposition parties declined to respond Friday to indirect criticism voiced the previous day by Artashes Geghamian, the ambitious leader of the National Accord party who is seeking their collective endorsement of his planned run for the presidency.
Some of their leaders dismissed Geghamian's claim that only he has a credible plan of action and can defeat President Robert Kocharian in the elections due next February.
Geghamian claimed on Thursday he is in the best position to represent the opposition in what promises to be a very tense contest. The statement fueled fresh speculation that National Accord is about to leave the recently formed loose alliance of 16 opposition parties.
According to Manuk Gasparian, the leader of the Fatherland and Honor party, there are at least several prominent opposition figures who deserve to be chosen as the joint presidential candidate of the alliance. He told RFE/RL that the opposition should "carefully" consider each potential candidacy before deciding whom to back in the February vote.
Gasparian and other representatives of the alliance said they will also look into an "anti-crisis program" circulated by National Accord on Friday.
Geghamian denied press reports that his party has effectively ended its participation in meetings organized by the opposition coalition. He told RFE/RL that National Accord members attend only those meetings that discuss major issues.
The 16 parties, meanwhile, showed some signs of unity on Friday when they issued another statement condemning the recent privatization of Armenia's electricity distribution network.