Three major opposition parties launched scathing attacks on Armenia’s government over the weekend as they held the founding congress of their recently formed electoral alliance.
The leaders of the Hanrapetutyun (Republic), Bright Armenia and Civil Contract parties reiterated that they will jointly participate in the April 2 parliamentary elections in an effort to achieve regime change in the country.
The bloc named Yelk (Way Out) was set up in early December. In a declaration issued at the time, the three parties said that they will strive for a “European model of the democratic, rule-of-law and social state” in Armenia.
Hanrapetutyun and Bright Armenia have a pro-Western orientation, while Civil Contract advocates a more neutral Armenian foreign policy.
Contrary to expectations, the three parties did not release Yelk’s list of election candidates as a result of the weekend conference. Nor did they clarify who will be their candidate for the post of prime minister if the bloc fares well in the upcoming elections.
Hanrapetutyun’s Aram Sargsian attributed the delay to “technical” issues. He said that he and his political allies are still negotiating with another opposition party, Zharangutyun (Heritage), in the hope of convincing it to join their bloc.
Zharangutyun’s deputy chairman, Armen Martirosian, attended the Yelk gathering. Speaking to reporters, Martirosian said that his party headed by Raffi Hovannisian has not yet decided whether to team up with Yelk or another opposition alliance taking shape now. Among the leaders of that alliance is former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian.
“The people of Armenia have a real chance of achieving victory by means of us,” Civil Contract’s outspoken leader, Nikol Pashinian, declared in his speech at the conference.
Pashinian blamed the Sarkisian administration for lingering hardship in the country and accused the Armenian president of personally running oligopolies widely seen as a major hurdle to faster economic growth.
“In Armenia, the monopoly on [imports of] bananas, sugar, gasoline and everything else belongs to one person: Serzh Sarkisian,” he charged. “He always organizes elections for a single purpose: to keep his exclusive right to banana imports untouchable.”
“Armenia has become a country of discomfort where everything is being done to keep citizens on edge, to plunder, fine, suppress and disturb them day and night,” said Bright Armenia’s Edmon Marukian. “And we are proposing a way out of this.”
Marukian said that Yelk will propose detailed solutions to the county’s socioeconomic and other woes in its election manifesto that will be released soon.