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Hovannisian Slams Government ‘Lies’


Armenia - Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian (R) attends an opposition forum in Yerevan's Liberty Square, 19Mar2013.

Armenia - Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian (R) attends an opposition forum in Yerevan's Liberty Square, 19Mar2013.

Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian accused President Serzh Sarkisian on Tuesday of lying about their closed-door meeting held three days after last month’s presidential election.

Sarkisian said on Monday that during that meeting his main election challenger stopped short of declaring himself the rightful winner of the February 18 ballot despite his public statements to the contrary. The president also accused Hovannisian of breaching their agreement to exchange written proposals on how to end post-election tensions in Armenia.

“The claim that I said I didn’t win the election is a lie. In fact, I said the elections were rigged and there was widespread fraud,” Hovannisian told reporters in Yerevan’s Liberty Square where he has been on hunger strike since March 10.

Hovannisian insisted that he did not discuss any power-sharing deals with the incumbent. “We never discussed my participation in the government or any government job for me,” he said. “He himself agreed that that would be wrong.”

The opposition leader went on to deny Sarkisian’s claim that he broke a pledge to submit written proposals to end the post-election tensions. But he acknowledged receiving such proposals from the head of state.

Sarkisian confirmed on Monday that he offered Hovannisian to head a multi-party commission that would draft amendments to Armenia’s constitution and put them on a referendum within three years.

Hovannisian shrugged off that offer. “To present that as a solution to the people’s victory and the votes stolen from the people is just a mockery,” he charged.
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