Armenia will risk violent unrest unless it undergoes “systemic changes” as a result of the upcoming parliamentary elections, former Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian warned on Thursday.
Ohanian reaffirmed his intention to challenge the Armenian government in the elections scheduled for April 2. But he again declined to name his opposition allies.
“We have to understand a simple and important thing: if we fail to change the existing vicious system peacefully, by means of elections, then we will be faced with a danger of coups or bloody revolutionary upheavals,” he said in a fresh video message posted on Facebook.
“Any such process would harm the security of Armenia ... and lead to the country’s inability to confront unfavorable economic and military situations in the South Caucasus,” he added. “This is why I decided to act in the open political field.”
Ohanian served as defense minister from 2008 through October 2016. He said in December that he will “actively” participate in the parliamentary elections to try to bring about political and economic changes in Armenia.
The retired army general is tipped to join a new opposition alliance currently formed by former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian and several other opposition figures. He again stopped short of confirming this in his latest statement.
Ohanian spoke of “growing public distrust of the authorities” in his previous video address posted late last week. He said that they have failed to uphold the rule of law and address widespread poverty.
A senior member of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), Vahram Baghdasarian, dismissed the criticism on Monday. He said Ohanian is attacking a government in which he held a ministerial position for more than eight years.