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Opposition Parties ‘Still Negotiating’


Armenia -- The deputy chairman of the Zharangutyun party, Ruben Hakobian, speaks at a conference of opposition forces held in Yerevan, 20Jan2012.

Armenia -- The deputy chairman of the Zharangutyun party, Ruben Hakobian, speaks at a conference of opposition forces held in Yerevan, 20Jan2012.

The formation of an electoral alliance between the Zharangutyun (Heritage) party and another major opposition group is still not a forgone conclusion, one of their leaders said on Thursday.

“There is a clear desire and a creative approach on both sides to be together and even jointly contest the [May parliamentary] elections,” Ruben Hakobian, Zharangutyun’s deputy chairman, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “But one should not exclude that we will contest them separately.”

“Negotiations with the Free Democrats party are continuing,” Hakobian said. “We keep working on putting together programs and principles. The negotiating process is going on in a very normal way.”

It was expected that Zharangutyun, which is one of the two opposition parties represented in the current Armenia parliament, will announce at a March 2 congress whether it will run for parliament single-handedly or in an alliance with Free Democrats. The congress made no such announcement, however, leaving it to the party’s governing board to take the final decision at a meeting scheduled for March 18.

Hakobian confirmed that deadline. He said Free Democrats will also have clarified its election-related plans and expectations by March 18.

Ararat Zurabian, a Free Democrats leader, referred to the bloc’s formation as a forgone conclusion when he attended the Zharangutyun congress in Yerevan. He said the two parties only need to work out “technical issues.” Zharangutyun’s U.S.-born chairman, Raffi Hovannisian, did not confirm this, though.

Zurabian and other leading members of his party split from the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) last year.
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