Paruyr Hayrikian, a prominent Soviet-era dissident running for president, on Thursday called for a multi-party agreement on a single candidate in Armenia’s presidential race.
Although he referred to “all candidates,” including President Serzh Sarkisian, the appeal seemed primarily addressed to fellow opposition contenders.
In that context, Hayrikian emphasized the example of Armenia’s first post-Soviet presidential election held in 1996. The country’s main opposition groups joined forces at the time to field a single candidate, Vazgen Manukian, against then President Levon Ter-Petrosian. Hayrikian was one of several opposition candidates who withdrew from the race in Manukian’s favor.
“There is a delicate question of which candidate should drop out,” Hayrikian said of the 2013 election. “We can discuss that. That has not been essential to me.”
Hayrikian, who has not been active on the political scene for the past decade, said that he is ready in principle to again drop out of the race for the sake of the proposed “united front.” “But of course the most beneficial variant of a single candidate is my nomination,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
The two other major opposition contenders are former Prime Minister Hrant Bagratian and former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian. None of them seems likely to give up his presidential bid in Hayrikian’s favor.