The ruling Republican Party of Armenian (HHK) brushed aside on Friday radical opposition threats to topple President Serzh Sarkisian with the ongoing campaign of antigovernment demonstrations in Yerevan.
“That the authorities will rule out upheavals is a fact,” HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “That the authorities are ready to prevent any public disturbance is also a fact.”
“We all must understand that stability is the main guarantee of the development of democracy in our country,” he said.
Sharmazanov spoke just hours before the main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) was due to rally supporters in central Yerevan for the fourth time in less than two months to again demand the holding of snap presidential and parliamentary elections.
A senior HAK figure, Levon Zurabian, said last week that if 200,000 people turn out at the April 8 rally, Sarkisian and his government will immediately flee the country. The opposition alliance led by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian claims that 100,000 people attended the last protest held on March 17. But according to the Armenian police, their number did not exceed 10,000.
Sharmazanov laughed off Zurabian’s statement. “Everyone remembers well who fled where and who resigned,” he said in a clear reference to Ter-Petrosian’s 1998 resignation.
Sharmazanov claimed that the HAK’s threats to effect “regime change” in Armenia are not taken seriously by Sarkisian and his party. “If we believed them, there would have already been a hundred fresh elections and the presidential palace would have been seized for 50 times,” he said. “Take it easy.”