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No one in Armenia can force a change of government today, a senior government official said on Wednesday, reacting to opposition calls for an immediate handover of power.

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 a set of opposition demands or face the prospect of being ousted by a campaign of street protests seeking early elections.

Chief of government staff David Harutiunian said that even unprecedented financial and human resources will not help the opposition to achieve its stated goal because, in his opinion, there are no grounds for a change of government in Armenia today.

“The [electoral] resources of the ruling party that won the latest general elections are underestimated. In any country where a bipolar political system is gradually forming, resources are concentrated at the opposed sides. In this case, it is not resources that play the central role,” Harutiunian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am).

Earlier this week, Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian, who is also a senior member of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), also dismissed opposition calls for an immediate change of government, saying that if such a change is to take place, it can only be through next general elections.

The next parliamentary elections are not due in Armenia until 2017.

Meanwhile, Gagik Jahangirian, a member of the Armenian National Congress that along with the BHK and Heritage makes up the so-called opposition trio, insisted that early presidential and parliamentary elections are a necessity for Armenia today and must be held as soon as possible.

“I think that the culmination of the movement will come sooner than expected, within a couple of months, because it is difficult to keep the movement going for longer when there is no nationwide event in the offing,” he said.

The three opposition parties said that another rally will be held in Yerevan soon, but they did not announce its date immediately. BHK lawmaker Stepan Sargsian, meanwhile, said the immediate task of the opposition movement today is to form regional headquarters that, as BHK leader Tsarukian said at the latest rally, should become “an instrument for mobilization of broad masses whenever necessary”.

Another senior BHK member Mikael Melkumian said on Tuesday that the trio’s call for early elections will be pursued if the government fails to implement the policies demanded by the opposition.

Amid the continuing exchange between representatives of the government and the opposition, the Central Election Commission (CEC) said at the moment it is not making any special preparations in case of early general elections. CEC head Tigran Mukuchian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) on Wednesday that at present they are focused on several upcoming local votes in a number of communities.

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