After conciliatory gestures towards the Armenian authorities made earlier this year, opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian accused them on Thursday of seeking to “perpetuate” their rule and putting Armenia on the brink of an “economic disaster.”
In a brief “wake-up call” posted on Ilur.am, Ter-Petrosian claimed that President Serzh Sarkisian’s administration is engaged in a “theatrical” imitation of electoral and other reforms which he said is aimed at tightening its grip on power.
Armenia, he said, may soon face a “real economic disaster” in the form of a “hidden default.” He did not elaborate.
It was not clear whether Ter-Petrosian referred to the country’s foreign debt, which has increased significantly in the last several years. Neither the International Monetary Fund nor other Western lending institutions have warned that the Armenian government could default on its debt repayments anytime soon.
Ter-Petrosian, who served as Armenia’s first president from 1991-1998 and now leads the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), has for years been a bitter critic of Sarkisian.But shortly after a sharp escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in April, Ter-Petrosian said opposition forces should put aside their differences with the government in the face of an increased military threat from Azerbaijan. The two men met in Ter-Petrosian’s private residence at the time.
The ex-president reaffirmed his stance during the authorities’ two-week standoff with radical opposition gunmen that seized a Yerevan police station in July to demand Sarkisian’s resignation. The HAK spoke out against any attempts to overthrow the government through armed revolt, saying that they could only result in a “civil war.”
Ter-Petrosian’s party also played a key role in the Sarkisian administration’s recent landmark agreement with the opposition on the proper conduct of parliamentary elections slated for April. Its deputy chairman, Levon Zurabian, described the September 13 deal as “historic.”