“The crisis cannot be deemed resolved because the team that caused the crisis remains in power. In essence, the pre-term elections did not serve the purpose of their conduct,” Kocharian said during a post-election conference of his Hayastan (Armenia), the official runner-up in the polls won by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s Civil Contract party.
“This means that we won’t have answers [to the questions about] why we lost [the war in Nagorno-Karabakh], why we suffered 5,000 casualties … Do you think that in the absence of answers to these questions we can have internal political solidarity and stability in Armenia? No, we can’t, we can’t,” he told hundreds of Hayastan activists.
“My forecast is that we are very likely to have early elections in about one and a half years from now,” he added in a speech.
A senior Civil Contract figure, Alen Simonian, dismissed Kocharian’s claims. “His evaluations are based on his wishes and ideas,” Simonian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.
Simonian insisted that the serious crisis triggered by Armenia’s defeat in the six-week war stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire last November is over. “The parliament was elected for a five-year term, and I think it’s wrong to make any other forecast,” he said.
Kocharian again questioned the official election results which showed Pashinian’s party winning about 54 percent of the vote, compared with 21 percent polled by Hayastan. He reaffirmed his bloc’s decision to challenge them in Armenia’s Constitutional Court.
Former President Serzh Sarkisian’s opposition Pativ Unem alliance, which finished a distant third in the polls, also plans to appeal to the court.
Pashinian and his associates have described the elections as free and fair, citing their largely positive assessment by local and international monitors.
Pashinian, who harshly criticized the two main opposition forces during the election campaign, last week expressed readiness to embark on a “dialogue” with his political opponents, citing “extremely serious” post-war challenges facing the country.
But in a clear reference to the two ex-presidents, the prime minister also said that they must “immediately” negotiate with his administration on “returning what was stolen from the people” or risk a crackdown by law-enforcement authorities.
Kocharian again construed that as a clear sign that Pashinian has no intention to change his confrontational attitudes towards opposition forces and will continue “persecuting” them. He said his bloc will be in “radical opposition” to the current government.
“We will combine our parliamentary work with a fight in the streets and a fight through the media,” he said.
The ex-president already indicated last week that Hayastan will likely take up its 29 seats in Armenia’s new 107-member parliament if the official vote results are upheld by the Constitutional Court.