The opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) said on Monday that it will continue to hold anti-government rallies in Yerevan despite taking up seats in the country’s new parliament and preparing to actively participate in its work.
HAK coordinator Levon Zurabian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that the bloc led by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian has scheduled its next rally for June 26.
“It will be devoted to recent developments and those developments are very important,” Zurabian said, also pointing to the ongoing formation of President Serzh Sarkisian’s new government. “We have a serious message to the people about all this,” he added.
The HAK’s most recent Yerevan rally took place on May 8, two days after parliamentary elections that were controversially won by Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). Ter-Petrosian and his associates rejected the official vote results, which gave the HAK only 7 seats in the 131-member National Assembly, as fraudulent. But they made clear that they will not boycott the newly elected parliament.
Ter-Petrosian also avoided launching the kind of post-election street protests that his opposition movement organized following Armenia’s last and equally disputed presidential election in February 2008. He said, though, that the HAK will continue fighting against the Sarkisian administration “on all fronts.”
Zurabian would not say if further HAK rallies will be held on a regular basis. But he insisted that the opposition alliance needs to combine parliamentary activities with street protests.
“In democratic states rallies usually take place in pre-election periods and political struggle moves to parliament after elections,” Zurabian explained. “That happens when there are free and fair elections. But when [Armenia’s] new parliament does not correspond to the popular mood because the elections were completely rigged, tension persists within the society … That means we must continue our struggle on the street as well.”