The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s junior coalition partner, on Thursday urged Armenia’s leading political groups to try to jointly find “solutions” that would end continuing anti-government protests in the country.
The party’s governing body in Armenia said the protests against Sarkisian organized by opposition leader Nikol Pashinian testify to “public demand for systemic changes and profound reforms.”
“Civic activism is an important prerequisite for the country’s development and democracy,” it said in a statement. “However, a struggle leading to a confrontation is an impasse and can split the entire national potential.”
Instead, the statement said, the Armenian authorities and the opposition should try to work out a “common political agenda” for addressing public disaffection exposed by the protests. For that purpose, all parties represented in the parliament should create a “platform for political consultations” that would be mediated by President Armen Sarkissian, it said.
The Dashnaktsutyun leadership added that this dialogue should be aimed at “jointly finding solutions” that would end what increasingly looks like a political crisis.
“As head of state, I am inviting the parties to dialogue for finding the best way out of the existing situation,” President Sarkissian said for his part. In that regard, he welcomed Dashnaktsutyun’s proposal.
It was not clear whether the proposal was coordinated with Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK). An HHK spokesman made a more general offer of “dialogue” to Pashinian on Wednesday.
Pashinian held more demonstrations throughout the day, again calling for Sarkisian’s ouster and saying that his movement mainly involving young people will not die down. Commenting on Dashnaktsutyun’s idea, Pashinian said only that Armen Sarkissian cannot host multi-party talks until he proves his eligibility to serve as head of state.
The protests were triggered by Serzh Sarkisian’s decision to hold on to power after serving two consecutive presidential terms. Sarkisian has retained his sweeping powers thanks to constitutional changes that have transformed Armenia into a parliamentary republic.
Dashnaktsutyun has strongly supported the constitutional reform, saying that it will boost democracy. Opposition groups insist, however, that its main aim was to enable Sarkisian to extend his rule.