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Ter-Petrosian Still Ready To Cooperate With Tsarukian


Armenia - Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian greets thousands of supporters rallying in Yerevan, 9Sep2011.

Armenia - Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian greets thousands of supporters rallying in Yerevan, 9Sep2011.

The opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) said on Monday that it stands ready, in principle, to cooperate with Armenia’s second most important governing party led by businessman Gagik Tsarukian in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

“As things stand now, the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), judging from their statements, is in favor of political competition,” said Arman Musinian, the HAK spokesman. “And if the Prosperous Armenia Party demonstrates in the coming months and on election day that it is really interested in free and fair elections, I think there will be large room for cooperation.”

HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian publicly expressed readiness for such cooperation last November despite a widely held belief that Tsarukian has close ties with former President Robert Kocharian, the HAK’s most bitter foe. Speaking at a rally in Yerevan, Ter-Petrosian said that “could radically change the configuration of political forces” in the country ahead of the May 2012 elections.

“It could at the same time serve as a basis for the formation of a broader coalition of opposition forces,” Ter-Petrosian added, pointing to mounting tensions between the BHK and President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). The HAK leader stressed at the same time that Tsarukian should “clearly dissociate himself” from Kocharian.

The BHK did not respond to Ter-Petrosian’s unprecedented remarks at the time. Its top representatives argued that Tsarukian’s party never received any formal offers from the opposition alliance and its charismatic leader.

Musinian effectively reaffirmed Ter-Petrosian’s readiness to coordinate actions with the influential tycoon two weeks after the BHK was joined by former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, a key member of the Kocharian administration. Oskanian last week spoke of “real competition” unfolding between the BHK and Sarkisian’s HHK.

Musinian made clear that the president and his party will be the main “target” of Ter-Petrosian’s bloc in the parliamentary race. “We will be actively participating in the elections,” he told a news conference. “We will mobilize the society to both prevent falsifications and unleash a wave of public protest against those falsifications.”

Ter-Petrosian declared in October that the HAK’s chief objective now is to win the kind of “weighty presence” in the Armenian parliament that would enable it to impeach Sarkisian “single-handedly or in an alliance with other forces.”

“I am sure that if the elections are free and fair, the Armenian National Congress will have a weighty presence in the parliament,” said Musinian. He said the opposition alliance will unveil a plan of pre-election actions at a rally on Thursday.
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