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Government-Opposition Talks In Parliament Collapse


Armenia - Deputies from the ruling Republican Party at a parliament session in Yerevan, 6Feb2013.

Armenia - Deputies from the ruling Republican Party at a parliament session in Yerevan, 6Feb2013.

Negotiations between the pro-government majority in the Armenian parliament and two major opposition parties on post-election tensions in the country ended in failure on Monday.

Senior lawmakers from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) and the opposition Zharangutyun and Dashnaktsutyun parties began the talks on Thursday in an attempt to agree on the agenda of a possible parliament session on the February 18 presidential election.

Zharangutyun and Dashnaktsutyun proposed a 3-point agenda that included the conduct of fresh parliamentary elections this year and sweeping constitutional reforms that would transform Armenia into a parliamentary republic. The parliament majority loyal to President Serzh Sarkisian categorically rejected the idea of snap polls.

“The majority is against this agenda,” Zharangutyun’s Ruben Hakobian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “It did not propose any other agenda. So the opposition will decide what to do.”

“Unfortunately, our positions remain incompatible,” said Armen Rustamian, a Dashnaktsutyun leader. Rustamian said the HHK representatives were open to the idea of constitutional reform that would transfer many powers from the president to the prime minister of the republic. Zharangutyun’s insistence on fresh elections prevented a compromise agreement, he implied.

Galust Sahakian, the HHK’s parliamentary leader, confirmed that the presidential camp was ready to consider the constitutional changes sought by the opposition parties.
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