Armenia’s main opposition bloc has threatened to stage nonstop street protests demanding an immediate resignation of the government unless its demand for early elections is granted soon.
In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Wednesday senior member of the Armenian National Congress (HAK) Levon Zurabian insisted that to avoid the scenario, not only must the government start negotiations on the agenda of preterm elections before September, but these negotiations should produce a result in the form of an agreement around the terms and conditions of holding such polls.
Speaking at a public rally in Yerevan last Thursday HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian set the deadline to President Serzh Sarkisian and his political coalition to start formal negotiations with his alliance and “finally make up his mind on the issue of fresh elections.” He warned that failure to do so would prompt the HAK to demand Sarkisian’s immediate resignation.
Through its spokesman and other senior representatives, however, Sarkisian’s ruling Republican Party of Armenia effectively rejected the opposition demand, indicating that the Armenian authorities had no intention of bringing forward the next parliamentary and presidential elections due in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
Earlier, however, Sarkisian’s administration had already fulfilled several opposition demands, including granting permissions to hold political gatherings in previously forbidden areas and the release of activists jailed in the wake of 2008 post-election clashes.
Zurabian warned, however, that the government’s failure to bow down to the opposition demand this time around would leave no option for the people other than “exerting mass pressure on the government”.
The opposition leader said such pressure could have different forms and manifestations, including civil disobedience.
“It may include anything, such as nonstop rallies, pickets of major highways. These actions should make the authorities realize that they can’t treat the people like this,” explained Zurabian.