Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian said on Friday that his Zharangutyun (Heritage) party is “inclined” to join forces with other opposition groups in Armenia’s unfolding parliamentary race.
Hovannisian confirmed ongoing talks with the opposition Free Democrats party on the establishment of an electoral bloc. He said Zharangutyun will make a final decision on that at its congress scheduled for March 2.
“We are discussing that amongst ourselves,” the U.S.-born politician told a news conference. “We will do that this month. We will arrive at a final conclusion on March 2.”
“At this point I cannot say whether the alliance is likely or not,” he said. “But we are inclined towards big solutions.”
Free Democrats is led by several prominent opposition politicians who split from the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) last year.
Zharangutyun was already close to teaming up with several opposition parties in the run-up to the last parliamentary elections held in 2007. Their negotiations ended in failure because of disagreements over the would-be bloc’s list of election candidates. Of those parties, only Zharangutyun managed to win seats in the current Armenian parliament.
Zharangutyun leaders say their party will again win at least 5 percent of the vote and thus be represented in the next National Assembly if it contests the elections on its own. The legal vote threshold for party alliances running for the parliament is set at 7 percent.
Hovannisian, who had served as Armenia’s first foreign minister, insisted that he would not seek to top the electoral list of a possible opposition bloc. “We believe that Armenia is facing more serious challenges that require consolidation of forces and resources,” he said. “We believe that the Republic of Armenia is on the brink of serious changes and Zharangutyun is obliged to be part of that movement for systemic change, both in the National Assembly and the street.”