The demand for early elections remains a “cornerstone” of the agenda of the three parties making up an informal coalition opposed to the current government, according to a representative of the trio.
Lawmaker Mikael Melkumian representing the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the largest of the three parties of the bloc that also includes the Armenian National Congress (HAK) and Heritage, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) on Tuesday that the trio will pursue preterm parliamentary elections if the government fails to meet its demands that range from scrapping plans for a constitutional reform and amending the electoral laws to solving various social and economic problems facing the country.
Addressing tens of thousands of supporters who gathered for the trio’s joint anti-government rally last Friday, BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian warned the current leadership to comply with the demands or face the prospect of being ousted by a campaign of street protests supported by hundreds of thousands of people.
Reacting to the statements by Tsarukian and his more radical opposition allies, Levon Ter-Petrosian, of the HAK, and Raffi Hovannisian, of Heritage, Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian on Monday stressed that he did not see any prospect of an immediate change of government, adding that even if such a change takes place in Armenia, it will only be “within the framework of the Constitution” and “through the next general elections”.
Armenia -- MP (Prosperous Armenia faction) Mikael Melkumian at a news conference in Yerevan, 22 January 2014
The BHK’s Melkumian expounded on Tsarukian’s statement, insisting that the trio’s call for early elections will be pursued only if the government fails to implement the policies demanded by the opposition.
“By posing questions to the government, the non-governing forces cannot but have a common political agenda. When you say something, you should not do it in an unsophisticated way by just demanding resignation. One should set forth a political agenda that the leadership may accept,” he said. “But the cornerstone of the political agenda is early parliamentary elections.”
According to Melkumian, at this stage the opposition trio has decided to pursue early parliamentary elections only. “In other words, to take a path that would not create barricades,” he explained, adding that parliamentary elections, as opposed to presidential ballots, are “not personalized”.
“Let’s have free elections… And in this sense we believe we will have a success,” the BHK representative said.
Unlike the HAK and Heritage, the BHK has not yet explicitly demanded President Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation.