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Radical Opposition Plans Another Push For ‘Regime Change’


Armenia -- A leader of the New Armenia Public Salvation Front, Zhirayr Sefilyan, at a news conference, 17 Mar2016

Armenia -- A leader of the New Armenia Public Salvation Front, Zhirayr Sefilyan, at a news conference, 17 Mar2016

An alliance of radical opposition groups announced on Thursday plans to start a new series of street demonstrations aimed at toppling the government and forcing snap elections in Armenia.

Zhirayr Sefilian, a leader of the New Armenia Public Salvation Front, said the grouping will hold talks with other opposition forces as well as non-partisan civic organizations in an effort to convince them to join the campaign. He listed Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) and Nikol Pashinian’s Civil Contract parties among those forces.

“We will try to achieve this consolidation in the coming days,” Sefilian told a news conference.

Sefilian made clear that New Armenia will press ahead with the fresh anti-government rallies even if it fails to cobble together a broad-based opposition coalition. “We won’t leave the streets, our struggle will continue till the end,” he said.

New Armenia already embarked on daily demonstrations in Yerevan on the eve of the December 6 referendum on controversial amendments to the Armenian constitution put forward by President Serzh Sarkisian. The campaign fizzled out within weeks, with the radical oppositionists failing to attract large crowds. None of the country’s opposition parties represented in the parliament joined it.

Unlike the mainstream opposition, Sefilian and most of his associates have opposed any participation in regular elections organized by the Armenian authorities. It is still not clear whether Raffi Hovannisian’s Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, a parliamentary force aligned in New Armenia, plans to contest next year’s parliamentary elections.

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