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Opposition Bloc Names Negotiating Team For ‘Dialogue’


Armenia - Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian leads a demonstration of his supporters in downtown Yerevan, 31May2011.

Armenia - Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian leads a demonstration of his supporters in downtown Yerevan, 31May2011.

The main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) named late on Thursday five senior members that will represent it in anticipated negotiations with President Serzh Sarkisian’s administration.


The HAK made the announcement in a statement issued after a meeting of its governing body headed by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian.

The list of negotiators is topped by Levon Zurabian, Ter-Petrosian’s right-hand man who coordinates the opposition bloc’s day-to-day activities. It also comprises two other members of the HAK leader’s inner circle, Davit Shahnazarian and Vahagn Khachatrian.

The negotiating team was unveiled just two days after Ter-Petrosian announced the impending start of a “formal dialogue” between his political force and Sarkisian’s governing coalition. He said the HAK will also propose its agenda of the dialogue to the authorities “in the coming days.”

“Naturally, the authorities have to do the same,” he told thousands supporters rallying in Yerevan.

Sarkisian has paved the way for such negotiations with a series concessions made to Ter-Petrosian. He is therefore expected to respond positively to the HAK’s dialogue offer.

It remains to be seen who will represent the president in the talks. Their exact format is also not known yet.

Ter-Petrosian and other HAK figures have repeatedly stated that they will press for the holding of fresh presidential and parliamentary elections during the dialogue. But it is not clear what they will do in the likely event of the government side rejecting this demand.

Ter-Petrosian said on Tuesday that he will seek to keep up pressure on the Sarkisian administration with “periodical” rallies. But he also spoke out against the idea of nonstop antigovernment protests advocated by more radical opposition elements.
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