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Oppositionist Sees No 2013 Presidential Bid By Ter-Petrosian


Armenia -- Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian (R) greets former Foreign Minister Aleksandr Arzumanian after his release from jail, 22Jun2009.

Armenia -- Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian (R) greets former Foreign Minister Aleksandr Arzumanian after his release from jail, 22Jun2009.

Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian will not run in next year’s Armenian presidential election, his former election campaign manager now affiliated with a rival opposition party predicted on Friday.

“It’s not correct of me to talk about that because I represent a different force,” Alexander Arzumanian told journalists. “But my personal opinion is that Levon Ter-Petrosian will not nominate his candidacy.”

Ter-Petrosian, who served as Armenia’s first president from 1991-1998, hinted at his intention to contest the 2013 presidential election in an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) last April. “As long as I am able, I will fight against these authorities,” he said when asked about his participation in the vote.

Ter-Petrosian, who turned 67 in January, was the main opposition candidate in the last presidential ballot held in 2008. He finished second in the contest, according to official vote results which he and his supporters consider fraudulent.

Arzumanian, who had served as foreign minister in the Ter-Petrosian administration, managed the ex-president’s 2008 campaign and was one of his close associates at the time. Arzumanian and several other prominent opposition figures subsequently fell out with Ter-Petrosian before setting up a new opposition party, the Free Democrats.

Earlier this year, the Free Democrats formed an alliance with the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party which won five seats in Armenia’s new parliament elected on May 6. Both opposition groups have had a tense relationship with Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress.

Arzumanian made clear on Friday that the Free Democrats will support Zharangutyun’s U.S.-born leader Raffi Hovannisian should he decide to run for president in 2013. He said Hovannisian will clarify his election-related plans by September.
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