Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian has dismissed opposition calls for an immediate change of government, saying that if such a change is to take place, it will not be through early elections.
All processes, according to Abrahamyan, should be “within the framework of the Constitution” and “through the next general elections”.
The next parliamentary elections in Armenia will not be held until 2017.
Addressing tens of thousands of supporters in Yerevan’s Liberty Square on October 24, leader of the non-governing Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) Gagik Tsarukian urged the current leadership to comply with their demand for amending the election laws by abolishing parliamentary ballots held in single-mandate constituencies and leaving only party-list elections. He warned that otherwise the opposition “will force the government to resign and hold early elections with street protests attended by hundreds of thousands of people”.
Armenian opposition groups have long argued that the so-called “majoritarian” votes through which 41 out of 131 members of the Armenian National Assembly are elected are an impediment to the true political process as campaigns in single-mandate constituencies rarely follow political patterns. They also regard them as a tool for the ruling party to ensure its majority even if it fails to win one through party-list elections. Besides, opposition members believe that administrative resources and vote buying are used more heavily in single-seat constituencies.
Answering a question from RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) on Monday, Prime Minister Abrahamian still emphasized that the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), of which he is a senior member, is ready to discuss issues “raised by any political party.”
“We are ready to discuss any issue. We will discuss it, come to a common denominator; we should express the position of the party, and they should formulate their proposals,” he said.
HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov, meanwhile, also spoke dismissively about the demands of the BHK and its more radical opposition allies – the Armenian National Congress and Heritage – for a transition of power through preterm elections.