By Ruzanna Khachatrian
Armenia’s main opposition alliance expects to win at least one third of parliament seats in Sunday’s elections, its campaign manager said on Thursday.
Stepan Zakarian said the Artarutyun (Justice) bloc also believes that grabbing an overall majority in the 131-member National Assembly is a realistic goal.
“We have maximum and minimum programs,” he told reporters. “The maximum program is to win a majority, and the minimum one is to get 44 parliament seats.”
“No matter how much they falsify [the elections], the Artarutyun alliance will get the highest number of votes,” Zakarian added, echoing the optimism of the bloc’s leaders expressed throughout the election campaign.
Artarutyun hopes to capitalize on the popularity of its leader Stepan Demirchian who made a strong showing in this year’s presidential election, mounting a strong challenge against President Robert Kocharian. The bloc refuses to recognize Kocharian’s reelection and joined the parliamentary race as part of its efforts to force him into resignation.
The minimum target of 44 seats was also set by the Republican Party (HHK) of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian which hopes to retain its strong presence in the government as a result of the polls. The HHK is seen as less popular than Artarutyun. Still, it is expected to outperform the opposition alliance in 56 single-seat constituencies where money and government connections play a large role.