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President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) rejected on Friday a new deadline set by the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) for the announcement of fresh national elections.


HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov insisted that while being open to “constructive” proposals from the HAK, the Armenian authorities have no intention to bring forward the next parliamentary and presidential elections due in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Speaking at a rally late on Thursday, HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian gave Sarkisian until the beginning of September to start formal negotiations with his alliance and “finally make up his mind on the issue of fresh elections.” He warned that failure to do so would prompt the HAK to demand Sarkisian’s immediate resignation.

“Unlike some deluded individuals, the authorities have long made up their mind and they see no political and legal reasons for pre-term elections in our country,” Sharmazanov told RFE/RL’s Armenians service. “Also, the constitution doesn’t allow us to hold pre-term elections.”

“The Congress leader used to be president and he knows very well that talking with ultimatums and setting deadlines is not a language of democracy,” he said. “The language of democracy is dialogue which we have proposed to them.”

The HAK wants that dialogue to take the form of official negotiations between special delegations appointed by the two sides. The president and his party have repeatedly rejected this format.

“In the entire post-Soviet region I haven’t seen a case where the president of a country is offering to voice in parliament sound and constructive proposals from the extra-parliamentary opposition,” said Sharmazanov. “What else do they want?”
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