By Emil Danielyan
Armenia’s most radical opposition groups said they will join more moderate opposition parties in contesting the official election results in the court as they again rallied thousands of supporters in Yerevan on Friday.
The move came as another indication that the Hanrapetutyun and Nor Zhamanakner parties and the Impeachment bloc will avoid a potentially violent confrontation with the Armenian authorities for the time being. Nor Zhamanakner already announced on Thursday that it will ask the Constitutional Court to annul the official results of the May 12 parliamentary elections that gave a crushing victory to political allies of President Robert Kocharian.
Hanrapetutyun leader Aram Sarkisian and another prominent oppositionist, Stepan Demirchian of the People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK), told about three thousand supporters that they will also file separate lawsuits.
“We are preparing documents to appeal to the Constitutional Court, and we will need your support. We have to stand firm and be consistent,” Sarkisian said in his speech at the rally held in the city’s Liberty Square.
“I promise all of you, all international observers, the entire world watching Armenia that we will submit such facts that will leave no doubts that the elections were rigged,” he said, promising a “tough fight” in Armenia’s top court.
Still, Sarkisian made it clear that he and other radical oppositionists continue to regard street protests as the main means of political struggle. “I don’t expect the Constitutional Court to rule in our favor,” he said. “Make no mistake about that. This Constitutional Court will never make such a decision … In that court, we will simply prove our righteousness to everyone.”
“We will certainly win,” declared Nikol Pashinian, a young Impeachment leader who held a two-day sit-in in the square to try to attract for the opposition campaign.
The opposition trio have so far failed to pull crowds big enough to threaten the Kocharian administration’s hold on power. Many opposition activists and supporters are clearly demoralized by Western observers’ positive evaluation of the authorities’ conduct of the elections.
Also addressing the crowd were Demirchian and Heghine Bisharian, a leading member of former parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian’s Orinats Yerkir Party. The latter also intends to appeal the election results in the Constitutional Court despite winning more parliament seats than any other opposition force.
“We will fight with all opposition force for a free and democratic Armenia,” said Bisharian.
(Photolur photo: Demirchian, left, Pashinian, center, and Sarkisian talk during the rally.)