Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian on Tuesday pledged to launch a new campaign of anti-government protests which he said will lead to a “constitutional revolution” in Armenia.
“The Zharangutyun party and activists of free and independent Armenia have not left the battlefield. We have used this short period of reorganization to gain momentum and become stronger,” he said in a speech read out to supporters and the media.
Hovannisian, who is Zharangutyun’s founding leader, shed little light on his new “struggle for the liberation of Armenia.” He said he will present its details at a news conference to be held soon.
Hovannisian was President Serzh Sarkisian’s main opposition challenger in the February 2013 presidential election. He rejected as fraudulent official election results that gave victory to Sarkisian, rallying thousands of supporters in and outside Yerevan in the weeks that followed the disputed ballot.
Hovannisian’s post-election campaign fizzled out in April amid a lack of support shown by other opposition parties. The latter complained that he never came up with a clear plan of actions.
The Zharangutyun leader, who was born and raised in the United States, announced another push for power in September. However, his rallies in Yerevan, Gyumri and Vanadzor attracted very small crowds.
Hovannisian said on Tuesday that he has learned lessons from his 2013 “mistakes.” He assured supporters that he will redeem himself with his new campaign. He spoke of a fertile ground for anti-government protests created by recent months’ rises in the prices of public utilities and basic goods, an ongoing pension reform and other controversial government decisions.