President Serzh Sarkisian has no mandate to make Armenia part of a Russian-led alliance of ex-Soviet states and must step down as soon as possible, opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian said over the weekend.
Hovannisian accused Sarkisian of leading the country to ruin as he addressed a conference of his Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, one of the four parliamentary forces jointly challenging the current Armenian leadership. “For the sake of Armenia, for the sake of its national flag, Mr. Sarkisian and his administration must resign,” he said in a speech.
“We believe that there must be a constitutional revolution through a change of this unelected government,” the U.S.-born politician told reporters in separate comments.
Sarkisian’s resignation is not among 12 mostly socioeconomic demands that were jointly issued to the authorities by Zharangutyun, the Armenian National Congress (HAK) as well as the Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and Dashnaktsutyun parties earlier this month. Only two of those parties, Zharangutyun and the HAK, officially stand for regime change in the country, with the BHK and Dashnaktsutyun favoring a more cautious line.
“If it was up to Zharangutyun, there would have been 120, rather than 12, points, including regime change,” said Hovannisian. He hinted that his party could team up with other anti-government forces to campaign for Sarkisian’s ouster if its opposition allies do not eventually toughen their common agenda.
Zharangutyun already tried unsuccessfully to bring down the government after last year’s presidential election in which Hovannisian was the main opposition candidate. The latter claims to be the rightful winner of the disputed ballot.
Zharangutyun is also the only member of the opposition quartet to openly and explicitly object to Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan sought by Sarkisian. Hovannisian reaffirmed this stance.
“I see no benefits there for Armenia. Furthermore, I exclude that anything that’s in Armenia’s interests can be signed under this regime,” he said.
The Zharangutyun leader claimed in that context that Sarkisian is too illegitimate to sign any international treaties. He also reaffirmed his party’s strong support for Armenia’s integration with the European Union.