The Armenian National Congress (HAK) called on Wednesday for the formation of a broad-based opposition alliance that would challenge the ruling Republican Party (HHK) in upcoming municipal elections in Yerevan.
The HAK said it is ready to agree with the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) as well as the opposition Dashnaktsutyun and Zharangutyun parties on a joint list of candidates for the polls scheduled for May 5.
“This is a unique opportunity for these four political forces to achieve an important victory over the regime by consolidating their resources and coordinating their efforts. That would pave the way for an eventual regime change,” said Levon Zurbaian, a leading member of the opposition bloc headed by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian.
Voters in the Armenian capital will be electing a new municipal assembly empowered to appoint the city’s mayor. The outgoing assembly is controlled by the HHK. The ruling party announced last week that Yerevan’s current Mayor Taron Markarian will top the list of its election candidates.
Zurabian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that the HAK has not yet discussed its proposal with any of the three other political forces. He would not say when it could start official negotiations with them.
Representatives of Dashnaktsutyun and Zharangutyun welcomed the idea in principle. The BHK’s immediate reaction to the HAK move was more ambiguous.
Armen Rustamian, a Dashnaktsutyun leader, stressed the importance of the municipal elections in his speech at a rally held by Zharangutyun leader Raffi Hovannisian in Yerevan on Tuesday. Rustamian said opposition victory in the polls would mark “the first stage” of President Serzh Sarkisian’s “gradual” removal from power.