Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian and businessman Gagik Tsarukian met on Tuesday to discuss preparations for an upcoming joint anti-government rally planned by their political parties and two other groups critical of President Serzh Sarkisian.
A joint statement released by Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) and Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) said the two men also reaffirmed their strong opposition to sweeping constitutional amendments planned by Sarkisian.
“The sides also stressed the importance of making, within the framework of the [opposition] quartet, joint visits to regions before the rally with the aim of informing the people about and rallying them around issues on the common agenda,” read the statement. It gave no other details.
Close associates of Tsarukian and Ter-Petrosian were also present at the meeting. They included former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, a senior BHK lawmaker.
The BHK, the HAK, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and the Zharangutyun (Heritage) party are due to rally supporters in Yerevan on September 30 to discuss the authorities’ response to a list of 12 concrete demands issued by them in June. The authorities have essentially rejected the ultimatum.
Preparations for the rally were also discussed by senior lawmakers from the four parties at a separate meeting earlier on Tuesday. Dashnaktsutyun’s Armen Rustamian said after that meeting that they have yet to reach an agreement on “what we will do after the rally.” Rustamian also confirmed that unlike the three other parliamentary parties Dashnaktsutyun is ready to support Sarkisian’s constitutional reform if it envisages Armenia’s transformation into a parliamentary republic.
The HAK and Zharangutyun are pressing for a sustained campaign of anti-government street protests aimed at toppling Sarkisian. The BHK and Dashnaktsutyun, by contrast, have stopped short of demanding the president’s resignation so far.