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Opposition Leaders Meet Ahead Of Key Rally


Armenia - Opposition leaders Levon Ter-Petrosian (L), Gagik Tsarukian (C) and Raffi Hovannisian meet in Yerevan, 10Apr2014.

Armenia - Opposition leaders Levon Ter-Petrosian (L), Gagik Tsarukian (C) and Raffi Hovannisian meet in Yerevan, 10Apr2014.

Opposition leaders Levon Ter-Petrosian, Gagik Tsarukian and Raffi Hovannisian met again late on Wednesday to discuss preparations for the next anti-government rally that will held by their political parties in Yerevan on Friday.

A spokeswoman for Tsarukian, Iveta Tonoyan, declined to give details of the meeting. She said only that the three leaders discussed “organizational issues” related to the rally.

Tsarukian, who leads the influential Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), held separate talks with Ter-Petrosian on Tuesday.

The talks appear to be part of efforts by the BHK, Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) and Hovannisian’s Zharangutyun (Heritage) party to work out a plan of further joint actions aimed at achieving “regime change.” They hope to do so in time for Friday’s demonstration in Yerevan’s Liberty Square.

“It’s not that we were not united at the last rally [held on October 10,]” said Stepan Markarian, a senior BHK member. “Each of us expressed opinions at that rally. That’s what we had agreed to do.”

Unlike Ter-Petrosian and Hovannisian, Tsarukian declined to deliver a detailed speech or elaborate on the opposition trio’s goals during the October 10 gathering. The tycoon, who controls the second largest faction in Armenia’s parliament, promised to speak at length at the next protest.

“It will be a very important day,” Markarian said of Friday’s rally. “Answers to many questions preoccupying the society will be voiced.”

“The people want regime change and the BHK has no problem with that. The BHK also wants it,” Markarian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). He declined to go into details.

Lyova Khachatrian, another BHK lawmaker, said Tsarukian will state “what the people want to hear and know.” “The people want to know how to come out of this situation,” he said without elaborating.

Earlier on Wednesday Tsarukian met with the 35 other members of the BHK’s parliamentary faction, most of them fellow businesspeople. In Tonoyan’s words, it was decided that they all will attend the upcoming rally.

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