By Emil Danielyan
Former President Levon Ter-Petrosian met on Sunday with another top opposition leader, Raffi Hovannisian, in an apparent fresh attempt to secure the latter’s endorsement of his candidature in Armenia’s upcoming presidential election.
In a short statement issued on Monday, Ter-Petrosian’s campaign office said the two men met in Ter-Petrosian’s Yerevan mansion to discuss the political situation in the country and, in particular, “issues related to the forthcoming presidential elections.” “They agreed to continue those discussions,” the statement said.
Neither Hovannisian, nor his Zharangutyun (Heritage) party issued any statements on the meeting. Aides to the U.S.-born former foreign minister said they are unaware of its details.
The two opposition figures already held election-related talks last month. Hovannisian, who had served as independent Armenia’s first foreign minister in the Ter-Petrosian administration, is among a dozen opposition leaders whom the ex-president has publicly urged to back his presidential bid.
Hovannisian is arguably the most popular of those leaders, making his endorsement particularly significant for Ter-Petrosian. The Zharangutyun leader is also being courted by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, a governing party which will contest the election with its own candidate.
Hovannisian himself is not eligible to run for president because of not having been an Armenian citizen for the past ten years. He has so far declined to throw his weight any of the candidates who will challenge Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian in the vote scheduled for February 19. Zharangutyun, which is one of two opposition parties represented in parliament, said earlier this month that its leadership will decide whom to support after holding negotiations with presidential candidates and ascertaining their “vision for Armenia.”
(Zharangutyun photo: Ter-Petrosian and Hovannisian pictured during their first meeting.)