By Ruzanna Khachatrian
Armenia’s leading left-wing opposition parties will soon announce an agreement committing them to coordinate their activities in the run-up to local and national elections.
A spokeswoman for the biggest of those groups, the People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK), told RFE/RL on Monday that the HZhK, the Hanrapetutyun, National Accord and Communist parties as well as the Socialist Armenia bloc are now “actively negotiating over the establishment of a close pre-election cooperation.” But she added that it is “still premature to talk about a pre-election alliance.”
The idea of a left-wing opposition alliance is backed by the Communists, Socialist Armenia and other, smaller parties. One of its main objectives would be to put forward a single candidate capable of defeating President Robert Kocharian in next February’s presidential elections.
National Accord’s outspoken leader, Artashes Geghamian, is believed to be actively seeking that role and is unlikely to throw his weight behind any other opposition candidate.
The HZhK’s popular chairman, Stepan Demirchian, is conscious of his reportedly high approval ratings and could also aspire to become the leader of a unified opposition. The HZhK has so far been reluctant to join opposition alliances.