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Opposition Parties Again Rule Out Early Votes


Armenia -- Hrant Markarian, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation party.

Armenia -- Hrant Markarian, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation party.

Two major opposition parties at odds with Armenian National Congress (HAK) insisted on Tuesday that the opposition bloc is not serious about its repeated pledges to force early elections.


Leaders of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and the Zharangutyun (Heritage) parties predicted that President Serzh Sarkisian will not call fresh polls as a result of his dialogue with the HAK.

Dashnaktsutyun’s Hrant Markarian claimed that HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian is only keen to “win time” ahead of the regular parliamentary and presidential elections due in 2012 and 2013.

“The policy they have pursued in the last three or four years leaves them with no other choice,” Markarian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “They need to keep [their supporters] busy with something so that the wave [of popular support for the HAK] remains high and enables them to achieve some success in the forthcoming elections.”

“I don’t consider pre-term presidential elections likely,” agreed Armen Martirosian, a leading member of Zharangutyun. “No such political process seems to be underway right now.”

Martirosian claimed that by engaging in the dialogue the HAK has only burnished Sarkisian’s reputation abroad and thus strengthened his positions at home.

“A section of the opposition is helping the authorities very much ... Why would such a strong president hold pre-term presidential elections?” he told a news conference.

The Zharangutyun leader, who is also a parliament deputy, went on to dismiss the ongoing talks between government and HAK representatives as a “soap opera” aimed at “distracting the society from real problems and real solutions.”

Markarian similarly claimed that the two sides are only concerned with monopolizing the political arena.
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