Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) on Monday that by pressing ahead with the demand for holding snap presidential and parliamentary elections the main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) is trying to keep its electorate ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for the spring of 2012.
“It is four years that they’ve been making this demand. This is not something new. We will see the start of electioneering already in a few months and opposition groups are seeking to win votes through making more radical calls,” said Sharmazanov.
At the latest rally
of his opposition alliance on Friday HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian listed the conduct of snap presidential and parliamentary elections by the end of the year as well as major changes in Armenian electoral legislation among eight demands to the government.
“Obviously, these two demands are the most difficult to fulfill. Therefore, we find it necessary to state that we are not maximalists and are ready to take seriously any reasonable compromise proposed by the authorities on that score,” the opposition leader emphasized.
The HHK spokesperson, however, voiced skepticism over this offer of a ‘reasonable compromise’, suggesting that the HAK would not have walked out of the dialogue late last month had it been ready for compromises.
“The fault for the aborted dialogue lies solely with the HAK,” stressed Sharmazanov.
After a series of meetings between negotiating teams representing the HAK and the governing coalition in July-August, the opposition announced a suspension of the political dialogue citing the arrest of several of its young activists over a clash with police as a reason. The HAK was quick to call the seven young men ‘political prisoners’ and demanded their immediate release. Six of them are now at large pending trials, while one, Tigran Arakelian, remains in pretrial custody. The release of Arakelian and the dismissal of criminal proceedings against all the seven activists were among the demands presented to the authorities by Ter-Petrosian last week.
“Had they not given up the dialogue, they would have listened through our explanations why there are no legal and political grounds for holding early elections in our country,” stressed the HHK representative.
Regarding the HAK’s declared intention to step up its pressure on the government by means of holding more frequent and bigger rallies, Sharmazanov warned: “Let everyone forget that clashes are possible in the Republic of Armenia. No one can lead the society into political clashes.”