Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian paved the way for a post-election dialogue with President Serzh Sarkisian with his decision to end his hunger strike, a senior member of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) said on Monday.
“I welcome that step by Raffi Hovannisian. This is the most prudent step for this situation,” Hovannes Sahakian, secretary of the HHK’s parliamentary faction, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Sahakian said the end of the three-week hunger strike against the official results of Armenia’s recent presidential election made possible another meeting between Sarkisian and his main election challenger. “That meeting will take place. That is my personal opinion,” he said.
Both leaders have expressed readiness to hold such talks. Hovannisian, who considers himself the rightful election winner, insisted until this week that Sarkisian visit him at Liberty Square, the site of the hunger strike. The Armenian president rejected that condition.
The opposition leader said over the weekend that he is now ready to meet Sarkisian in any place other than the presidential palace. “I am ready to listen to any proposal from him,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Speaking at a March 22 rally in Yerevan, Hovannisian said Sarkisian can “carry on as de facto president” if he agrees to call snap parliamentary elections and appoint opposition nominees to a number of key government positions. Sarkisian replied that although he considers those demands unconstitutional he is ready to discuss any proposal with the U.S.-born oppositionist.