President Serzh Sarkisian’s governing coalition hopes to convince the Armenian National Congress (HAK) to drop persistent demands for the conduct of early national elections, one of its representatives said on Friday.
Gagik Minasian, a member of the coalition team negotiating with HAK representatives, also expressed confidence that most Armenians will accept its arguments in the ongoing dialogue between the two rival political camps.
“We are convinced that the situation existing in Armenia … is not a crisis,” Minasian told a news conference. “We have numerous problems and we are taking numerous steps to address them.”
“We are ready to present those numerous steps in order to convince our [opposition] partners in that their perception of the situation, which they say can be remedied through pre-term elections, does not correspond to realities,” he said.
“I’m not sure that we will manage to convince them. But I’m sure about one thing: an impartial observer of our discussions will arrive at the right conclusion. And in my view, the right conclusion is that there is no need for pre-term elections.”
HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian and other senior figures in his opposition movement say only fresh elections can put an end to chronic vote rigging and thus eliminate the main source of political tensions in Armenia. They have threatened to pull out of the dialogue and launch massive street protests if President Sarkisian refuses to call such polls soon.
While rejecting the opposition demands, the coalition team headed by Davit Harutiunian, another senior lawmaker affiliated with Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), agreed last month to discuss the issue with HAK negotiators.
Despite these conflicting positions, Minasian sounded optimistic about the outcome of the unprecedented dialogue.
“The course of the discussions gives me hope to believe that we both have supreme goals and in order to achieve those goals we will overcome all those problems that exist or could arise in the process,” he said.
The delegations representing the two sides have already held three rounds of talks and will meet again early next week.