The Armenian National Congress (HAK) is holding back from launching a renewed campaign of anti-government protests because of what it sees as strong international pressure on Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, a leader of the opposition alliance said on Tuesday.
“Our analyses show that there will be definitely be snap elections in the country, and we will activate the situation at the appropriate moment,” Aram Sarkisian told RFE/RL in an interview. “We are convinced that our potential is enough to augment the popular masses to a very big size in two or three days and thereby put pressure on the authorities.”
Sarkisian said the HAK is not doing that now because it does not want to be a “tool of influence” in the hands of foreign powers that he said are seeking unilateral Armenian concessions to Azerbaijan. Echoing statements by the HAK’s top leader, former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, he claimed that the existing international plan to end the Karabakh conflict, drafted by the United States, Russia and France, favors Azerbaijan.
Addressing thousands of supporters in Yerevan in April, Ter-Petrosian said the Armenian authorities have been left to accept that plan and face a domestic backlash or to put themselves at odds with the international community. “The paradox of the situation is that in both cases [President] Serzh Sarkisian will undoubtedly lose power,” he said.
Ter-Petrosian also made clear that Armenia’s largest opposition force will not make a fresh push for power for now in order to “spare the country upheavals.”
Aram Sarkisian on Tuesday reiterated HAK demands for the holding of snap presidential and parliamentary elections. “This is the only way of earning the country a chance to secure a more pro-Armenian solution [to the Karabakh dispute,]” he said.
Top representatives of the country’s governing coalition have laughed off such statements, saying that the HAK lacks the muscle to force fresh national polls and denying international pressure on Yerevan over Karabakh. They also say that the international mediators’ existing proposals are far more favorable to the Armenian side than a peace deal which Ter-Petrosian had advocated while in power.