A major Armenian opposition party criticized former President Levon Ter-Petrosian on Monday, again distancing itself from his Armenian National Congress (HAK).
Leaders of the Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, one of the two opposition groups represented in Armenia’s parliament, also questioned HAK claims that snap presidential and parliamentary elections in the country are imminent
Armen Martirosian, the chairman of Zharangutyun’s governing board, denounced what he described as a political “triangle” of Ter-Petrosian and his two successors and bitter foes, Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian.
“Zharangutyun is of the opinion that political solutions to the issues preoccupying the society lie beyond the triangle of the three presidents,” he told a news conference. “We must break up that triangle that was foisted upon us. That triangle is not moving the state forward in any way.”
Zharangutyun, which is unofficially led by former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian, supported Ter-Petrosian in the February 2008 presidential election and his ensuing standoff with the Kocharian-Sarkisian duo. But the party pointedly declined to join the HAK, an alliance of about two dozen opposition groups loyal to the ex-president, when it was formed later in 2008. It has steadily drifted away from the Ter-Petrosian-led bloc since then.
Stepan Safarian, another Zharangutyun leader, on Monday spoke of major differences between the two opposition forces. In particular, he pointed to their differing views on normalizing Armenia’s relations with Turkey and resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Safarian also complained that the HAK rejected Zharangutyun’s recent calls for a round-table dialogue among Armenia’s leading political parties. “Since our offer was turned down, we can only wish them success in attaining their goals,” he told journalists.
A key HAK goal is the resignation of the current Armenian leadership and the holding of fresh national elections. Ter-Petrosian and his associates say the ruling regime will soon collapse under the burden of internal and external problems facing the country.
“Zharangutyun too is absolutely in favor of pre-term elections,” said Martirosian. “There is no question about that. The question is whether or not we anticipate pre-term elections at the moment.”
“At this point I don’t see a process that will lead to pre-term elections,” he added.