The three opposition parties making up the Yelk alliance failed on Monday to iron out their differences over how to jointly try to prevent President Serzh Sarkisian from extending his rule.
One of the Yelk parties, Civil Contract, has been pushing for a campaign of street protests against Sarkisian’s apparent plans to become prime minister after his second and final term in office ends on April 9. The two others, Bright Armenia and Hanrapetutyun (Republic), are skeptical about the success of such a movement.
The leaders of the three parties met for nearly three hours on Monday in a last-ditch attempt to reach common ground. Civil Contract’s Nikol Pashinian said they only agreed to act separately against Sarkisian’s continued rule.
Pashinian insisted that the failure to work out a joint action plan does not herald the collapse of the alliance that finished third in Armenia’s last parliamentary elections. The atmosphere within the Yelk leadership remains “healthy and businesslike,” he said.
“The Yelk alliance will continue to normally function in the parliament, and we will certainly continue our discussions,” Pashinian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
In a statement issued later in the day, Civil Contract said it has decided to launch a “political movement against Serzh Sarkisian’s third term in office.” “A roadmap of actions has been adopted and it will be made public on March 31,” it added without elaborating.
Meanwhile, Yerevan’s municipal administration revealed on its website that Pashinian’s party has expressed a desire to start nonstop rallies in the city’s Liberty Square on April 14. The municipality said it has objected to those plans and suggested that the party only hold daily demonstrations there from April 13-15 until 11 p.m. It also told Civil Contract and its supporters to avoid marching to the presidential palace.