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Opposition Representatives Press For Snap Elections


Armenia - Levon Zurabian (second from left) and other members of the Armenian National Congress negotiate with government representatives, 4Aug2011.

Armenia - Levon Zurabian (second from left) and other members of the Armenian National Congress negotiate with government representatives, 4Aug2011.

Representatives of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) made a case for fresh presidential and parliamentary elections on Tuesday during the fourth round of negotiations with Armenia’s governing coalition.


They presented a negotiating team representing the coalition with an 87-page document purportedly substantiating the need for holding such polls.

The document publicized by the HAK later in the day says they are the only way of reforming Armenia’s “illegitimate, totally undemocratic and corrupt” system of governance.

“That system has been formed as a result of widespread and large-scale election falsifications and repressions,” Levon Zurabian, the chief HAK negotiator, said after the meeting that lasted for more than five hours.

The document contains separate chapters on the Armenian authorities’ handling of the 2008 presidential election, their post-election crackdown on the opposition, the country’s flawed judiciary as well as socioeconomic problems.

The opposition alliance also made a damning indictment of Armenia’s current parliament dominated by President Serzh Sarkisian’s supporters. It claimed that 76 members of the 131-strong National Assembly, including speaker Hovik Abrahamian, are engaged in entrepreneurial activities in violation of Armenian law.

Speaking to journalists, Zurabian said the government delegation headed by Davit Harutiunian, the chairman of the parliament committee on legal affairs, listened to the HAK arguments “very attentively.” He said it asked for one week to officially respond to them.

Still, Harutiunian voiced the coalition representatives’ “preliminary” reaction immediately after the meeting. “Some of them are facts, some of them are evaluations,” he said of the HAK document. “We have different evaluations.”

“As for the facts, we believe that some of them are not presented accurately. Conclusions drawn from other facts are not accurate either,” he told reporters.

“We are going to give our assessment of the presented arguments during the next meeting which will take place next Tuesday,” added Harutiunian.

Sarkisian and other coalition leaders have repeatedly rejected the HAK demands for fresh elections. Nevertheless, their delegation agreed last month to discuss the matter in the ongoing dialogue.

Gagik Minasian, a member of Harutiunian’s team, said late last week that the government side hopes to convince the HAK to reconsider its stance and work with the authorities in ensuring the proper conduct of the next, regular elections due in 2012 and 2013.

The HAK leadership, for its part, has threatened to end the dialogue and step up anti-government street protests in Yerevan next month if the authorities persist in rejecting its key demand.
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