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Ter-Petrosian Bloc Reaffirms Opposition Unity Call


Armenia -- Levon Zurabian, a leader of the opposition Armenian National Congress.

Armenia -- Levon Zurabian, a leader of the opposition Armenian National Congress.

The Armenian National Congress (HAK) of former President Levon Ter-Petrosian reaffirmed on Tuesday its readiness to join forces with other opposition forces and in particular, his old rival, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun).

In a June 3 statement, the HAK urged all “democratic political forces” to join it in fighting for leadership change and the “establishment of democracy” in Armenia. The statement followed municipal elections in Yerevan that were controversially won by the country’s two largest pro-government parties.

The top leader of another major opposition party, Zharangutyun, likewise made a case for the “consolidation of the opposition camp” on Monday. Raffi Hovannisian expressed hope that Zharangutyun, the HAK and Dashnaktsutyun will put aside their difference and jointly “prepare for a normal electoral regime change.”

“We are happy to hear the first constructive response [to the HAK’s statement] and to know that Raffi Hovannisian is of the same opinion,” Levon Zurabian, the HAK’s central office coordinator, told RFE/RL.

When asked whether the Ter-Petrosian-led alliance is ready to work with Dashnaktsutyun, Zurabian said, “If Dashnaktsutyun regards itself as a political ideological force, then our call is addressed to Dashnaktsutyun as well.”

Zurabian stressed that both Dashnaktsutyun and Zharangutyun need to prove their opposition credentials by making real efforts to “rid the country of dictatorship.” “It is very easy to verify their sincerity,” he said. “If they fight against this dictatorship just as resolutely, then they are sincere. If not, then [it will mean that] they either pursue mercantile goals or goals related to their future political careers.”

Dashnaktsutyun leaders have so far declined to comment on the extraordinary cooperation offers from the HAK. The nationalist party was bitterly opposed to Ter-Petrosian during his 1991-1998 presidency.
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