Artsvik Minasian claimed that the dialogue serves the parochial interests of President Serzh Sarkisian and Armenian National Congress (HAK) leader Levon Ter-Petrosian and will not benefit the public. He said it could only make it easier for Sarkisian to hold on to power.
“If we talk about political tolerance, national consolidation, elimination of hatred, jointly meeting challenges facing the country, why is the dialogue only between them? Why have they alienated other forces?” Minasian asked during a public debate with a pro-government colleague.
“Why does the HAK sling mud at those opposition forces which express dissenting views?” he said. “And why are the authorities trying to push the non-HAK opposition into the corner in order to denigrate its role?”
Ter-Petrosian and other HAK figures insist that the dialogue will pave the way for a smooth “regime change” in the country. They say the conduct of fresh presidential and parliamentary elections is their main demand in the unfolding negotiations with Sarkisian’s governing coalition.
Dashnaktsutyun leaders, who have long been at loggerheads with Ter-Petrosian, dismiss these statements. They say the HAK realizes that it can not force fresh elections and is in fact ready to cut secret deals with the Sarkisian government.
The Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, another major opposition force represented in parliament, is also highly critical of the dialogue. Its leader, Raffi Hovannisian, last month warned of a “collusion” between the two negotiating sides.
HAK leaders strongly deny such claims. They also say that the HAK is the only genuine opposition force in Armenia.