By Shakeh Avoyan
Speaker Armen Khachatrian was left on Friday to decide whether to allow the Armenian opposition to debate the possibility of launching impeachment proceedings against President Robert Kocharian during next week's session of the parliament.
Opposition factions say that the issue should be automatically put on the parliament agenda because of a legal provision allowing them to force debates on any issue without the consent of at least one third of the 131 deputies. The pro-government majority, however, insists that the clause is not applicable to the matter.
Khachatrian, his two deputies and the chairmen of the parliament's standing committees discussed the highly contentious issue at a special meeting. Sources told RFE/RL that the participants did not reach a consensus and that the speaker was told by the other parliamentary leaders to make a final decision single-handedly. Khachatrian said he will announce it on Monday.
The speaker, who has never challenged Kocharian, will draw the ire of the increasingly aggressive opposition minority if he endorses the majority's arguments.
The leader of the largest Miasnutyun (Unity) faction, Galust Sahakian, reaffirmed its opposition to the impeachment debate. "The issue can not be put on the agenda because that would be against the law," he told RFE/RL. "So we will be trying to make sure that the issue is not discussed."
Opposition leaders warned on Thursday that they will disrupt the parliament session if the impeachment issue is not discussed by lawmakers.