The Armenian National Congress (HAK) may fail to force early elections this year but will continue to campaign for President Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation, a leader of the opposition bloc said on Tuesday.
“If we manage to achieve our goal this fall, that will be fine,” Levon Zurabian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “If not, we will use the whole process, including possible regular [parliamentary] elections, we will use those regular elections with the aim of achieving Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation.”
“That [resignation] is now our main goal and we will use all means to achieve that goal,” added the HAK’s central office coordinator.
The bloc led by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian has for months warned the Sarkisian administration to call snap elections or face a new opposition push for power. It began holding on September 30 nonstop protests in Yerevan’s Liberty Square but ended them eight days later without securing any government concessions.
Sarkisian and his three-party governing coalition have so far ignored Ter-Petrosian’s offer of a “reasonable compromise” that would lead the HAK to reconsider its demands for snap polls. The HAK described the president’s “immediate resignation” as its key objective as it called a halt to the Liberty Square sit-in on Saturday.
Zurabian admitted that the authorities did bow to the opposition pressure because attendance at those protests was not strong enough. “Had 50,000 people taken to the streets, the authorities would have made all necessary concessions,” he said.
Zurabian said the success of the HAK’s regime change efforts has been hampered by Western powers’ support for Sarkisian which Ter-Petrosian and his aides attribute to geopolitical factors. The opposition politician said continuing government “repressions” are another reason for the “difficulties” currently facing the opposition movement.