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Ruling Party Deplores Opposition Snub


Armenia - Ruling Republican Party spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov meets the press, Yerevan, 10Apr2014.

Armenia - Ruling Republican Party spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov meets the press, Yerevan, 10Apr2014.

The three main parties challenging President Serzh Sarkisian will face “extinction” after rejecting a government offer of dialogue, the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) claimed on Wednesday.

Eduard Sharmazanov, the chief HHK spokesman, said the Armenian National Congress (HAK), Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and Zharangutyun parties only marginalized themselves when they dismissed Sarkisian’s latest overtures.

“Marginalized forces end up becoming extinct,” Sharmazanov told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “I mean not a physical extinction but a moral-psychological and political one.”

In a move initiated by Sarkisian, Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian said on Tuesday that the government is ready to negotiate with the three parties on ways of fulfilling 12 political and economic demands that were made by them in June.The opposition trio was quick to turn down the proposal, saying that the Sarkisian administration is only keen to stave off more anti-government protests in Yerevan.

Levon Zurabian, the HAK’s deputy chairman, reaffirmed this stance on Wednesday after a meeting of senior representatives of the three parties. He said that the government could meet the opposition demands without holding nay negotiations.

The most important opposition demand is the conduct of parliamentary elections only under the system of proportional representation, something which would make it harder for the HHK to retain control over the Armenian parliament. The HAK, BHK and Zharangutyun are also seeking another major safeguard against vote rigging.

Zurabian reaffirmed the trio’s plans to initiate an extraordinary parliament session that would debate corresponding amendments to Armenia’s Electoral Code. “This step will verify whether Serzh Sarkisian is serious about his statements,” he said.

The HHK’s Sharmazanov insisted that the president is committed to dialogue with his political opponents. The government offer was made in good faith, he said.

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