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Ter-Petrosian Bloc Rules Out Parliament Boycott


Armenia -- Opposition leader Levon Zurabian addresses supporters in Yerevan, 16 March 2010.

Armenia -- Opposition leader Levon Zurabian addresses supporters in Yerevan, 16 March 2010.

The Armenian National Congress (HAK) will take up seats in Armenia’s next parliament even if it refuses to recognize its legitimacy, a leading member of the opposition alliance said on Friday.


Levon Zurabian also asserted that the HAK’s top leader, former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, will again run for president. “Ter-Petrosian remains the undisputed leader of the Armenian National Congress, and if there are presidential elections, I’m sure he will be the HAK’s candidate,” he said.

Zurabian made clear that the HAK will not replicate its boycott of Yerevan’s municipal council elected in May last year. “The parliament is a totally different thing,” he said. “Lenin would say that the parliament is a platform which should be used for achieving a final victory.”

“So yes, the parliament is a platform which no serious political force can afford to spurn,” Zurabian told a news conference.

According to official results, the HAK finished third in the 2009 municipal polls, winning 17.4 percent of the vote and 13 seats in Yerevan’s 65-member council. The bloc decided to abandon those mandates in protest against what it called serious vote rigging.

While insisting that the HAK is continuing to fight for snap elections in the country, Zurabian declined to rule out the possibility that the current National Assembly will be able to serve out its five-year term in May 2012. He said that is “the worst-case scenario” for the HAK

Zurabian claimed as recently as last Friday that President Serzh Sarkisian will soon have to resign and call pre-term parliamentary and presidential elections. “Because of blows dealt to Serzh Sarkisian’s regime over the past month, he is now in a terribly panicky mood,” he said.

Senior members of Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) laughed off his claims. They said the HAK should instead concentrate on the 2012 parliamentary elections.

Razmik Zohrabian, the ruling party’s deputy chairman, said on Friday that Ter-Petrosian’s bloc will clear the 7 percent vote threshold for winning parliament seats if it sticks to its current strategy of avoiding “fights” with the government. “But if the HAK changes course, as it did in 2008, then I think things will be very bad for it because the people will get finally disappointed,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service.

Zohrabian also reaffirmed the HHK’s plans to win a parliament majority in 2012 and ensure Sarkisian’s reelection in 2013.
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