The Armenian authorities will seriously consider a list of demands issued by the country’s four main opposition parties, a leading member of President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) said on Friday.
Vahram Baghdasarian, the HHK’s parliamentary leader, referred to a joint declaration that was adopted by the Prosperous Armenia (BHK), Dashnaktsutyun and Zharangutyun parties as well as the Armenian National Congress (HAK) on Tuesday.
The declaration contains 12 mostly socioeconomic demands. In particular, the opposition forces want the Sarkisian administration to halt a controversial pension reform, cut taxes for small businesses, sharply increase subsidies to farmers, keep public transport fares unchanged and break up de facto economic monopolies. They also demanded amendments to the Electoral Code mandating the conduct of parliamentary elections only on a party-list basis.
According to Baghdasarian, these demands “will not remain without answers.” “Based on the situation, we will make it a subject of discussions,” he said. “We will point out which demands are acceptable,”
“It doesn’t mean that everything that’s written there will be executed by the authorities,” added the presidential ally.
The four parties gave the authorities until the end of September to address their concerns. They said they will rally supporters in Yerevan this autumn to discuss the government response and decide on “further joint actions.” It remains unclear, however, what they will do if the authorities fully or party reject those demands.
“Let us not artificially speed up events,” said Naira Zohrabian, a senior BHK lawmaker. “Rest assured that the public will not be disappointed.”
Unlike the HAK and Zharangutyun, the BHK and Dashnaktsutyun have so far been careful not to threaten to campaign for Sarkisian’s removal from power.
Aram Manukian, an HAK lawmaker, reiterated on Friday that regime change remains the key aim of his party led by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian. “We hope that the number of those people who think like us will have increased by the end of September,” Manukian told reporters.