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Opposition Figure Laments Popular Apathy


Armenia -- Aram Manukian, the newly elected chairman of the opposition Armenian Pan-National Movement, at a news conference, 21July 2010.

Armenia -- Aram Manukian, the newly elected chairman of the opposition Armenian Pan-National Movement, at a news conference, 21July 2010.

A leading member of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) complained on Thursday about widespread popular apathy in the country, saying that most Armenians are not willing to fight against injustice.


Aram Manukian, the nominal head of a major opposition party affiliated with the alliance, also acknowledged that the HAK has so far failed to bring together a “critical mass” of supporters to unseat Armenia’s current leadership.

“We all are to blame for that,” Manukian told a news conference. “When Lfik (businessman Samvel Aleksanian) raises the price of sugar to 500 drams and the people don’t protest against that … I go crazy. Dear people, you see all this injustice, you see [what is happening in] the army, the ugliness of state institutions, you all know what is going on in healthcare.”

“We are absurd as individuals and as a nation” he said. “We are not protesting and see the best solution in packing up to stay away from trouble.”

Manukian went on to refers to the Armenians as “people of extremes” who easily “become buoyed and disappointed.”

The veteran politician at the same time asserted that the several thousand people attending regular HAK rallies in Yerevan can effect “regime change” sought by the opposition bloc.

“Believe me, the masses, that are now active and prepared for active processes, are sufficient to solve the number one political problem in Armenia,” he said. “Not only I but the authorities know this very well.”

Manukian claimed that attendance at those rallies will increase dramatically once the HAK switches to “bold and active steps” against President Serzh Sarkisian’s administration.

The HAK has given the authorities until the end of this month to call early national elections or face sustained street protests. Its top leader, former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, has repeatedly said, however, that the bloc will not seek to stage an anti-government “revolution.”
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