By Karine Kalantarian
More than two dozen non-governmental organizations on Friday appealed to former President Levon Ter-Petrosian to break his long silence and contest the upcoming presidential elections.
The civic groups, most of them little known to the general public, made the call after forming an umbrella structure that will coordinate their campaign for Ter-Petrosian’s return to power.
“The process of Levon Ter-Petrosian’s nomination has started,” said political scientist Aghasi Yenokian, one of the initiators of the gathering.
Some of its participants expressed their frustration at the ex-president’s apparent reluctance to join the race. “If Ter-Petrosian doesn’t participate in these elections, Armenia will not be attractive to the outside world for the next 20 or 30 years,” said one activist.
The gathering is seen as part of broader efforts by Ter-Petrosian allies to persuade their revered leader to return to active politics. But he has reportedly told them that he can not make a strong showing in the elections by relying only on his traditional support base, notably the former ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh).
Ter-Petrosian is expected to make a final decision before the HHSh’s pre-election congress scheduled for November 28. The NGOs supporting him, meanwhile, hope that the decision will be positive following their show of support.
“Today we will visit him and inform him of our decisions,” said the chairman of their coordinating council, Perj Ghazarian.