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Dashnaks Call For Opposition Deal On Presidential Candidate


Armenia - Armen Rustamian, a leader of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation, addresses a campaign rally in Yerevan, 10Apr2012.

Armenia - Armen Rustamian, a leader of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation, addresses a campaign rally in Yerevan, 10Apr2012.

A leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) on Friday called on the country’s leading opposition groups to nominate a joint candidate for the upcoming presidential election.

Armen Rustamian said to that end his opposition party is ready to throw its weight behind a candidate not affiliated with it but supportive of Armenia’s transformation into a parliamentary republic.

“We could find one absolutely neutral candidate,” he told a news conference, referring to the Armenian opposition.

According to Rustamian, Dashnaktsutyun believes that a “consolidation” of the opposition camp is key to preventing serious fraud in next February’s presidential election. The party could boycott the election if it feels that it is unable to prevent vote rigging, he said.

Dashnaktsutyun contested the last presidential ballot in 2008 with its own candidate, Vahan Hovannisian. He won 6.2 percent of the vote, according to official election results.

Other major opposition forces, notably the Armenian National Congress (HAK), have also publicly advocated the idea of jointly challenging President Serzh Sarkisian in the upcoming contest.

Levon Zurabian, the HAK’s parliamentary leader, said on Friday that the opposition bloc has started negotiations with potential allies. He refused to name any of them.

The HAK’s top leader, Levon Ter-Petrosian, is understood to be ready to strike election deals with the opposition-leaning Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the country’s second largest parliamentary force. A senior BHK lawmaker, Vahe Hovannisian, said the party led by businessman Gagik Tsarukian has not held election-related talks with the HAK.
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