The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) on Tuesday laughed off opposition claims about the impending downfall of President Serzh Sarkisian and holding of fresh presidential and parliamentary elections in the country.
Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian predicted such a scenario during a rally held by his Armenian National Congress (HAK) in Yerevan the previous evening. He said popular anger and external challenges facing Armenia will soon force Sarkisian to step down.
“These were the latest fairy tales from the first president,” Razmik Zohrabian, a deputy chairman of the HHK, told RFE/RL, reacting to Ter-Petrosian’s speech.
“In reality, there are no grounds in the country for pre-term elections. This is their wishful thinking, their dream aimed at buoying people supporting them,” he said, adding that the HAK is in fact preparing for the next, regular presidential and parliamentary elections due in 2013 and 2012 respectively.
Zohrabian also claimed that only up to 4,000 people attended Monday’s rally that marked the second anniversary of the bloody suppression of anti-government protests staged by Ter-Petrosian following a disputed presidential election.
“What kind of a popular revolt it is when you hold a rally timed to coincide with [the events of] March 1 … and only that many people show up?” he said. “The HAK is not a [political] factor anymore. Any other political force can gather that many people.”
Ter-Petrosian already predicted in March 2009 that Sarkisian and his governing coalition “will destroy themselves” in the next few months after failing to prevent a “drastic fall in living standards” which he said will result from the global economic crisis. “I am deeply convinced that the country is simply descending into an abyss,” he said at the time.