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Kocharian’s Bloc Defers Decision On Parliament Boycott


Armenia - Ishkhan Saghatelian (L) and Artsvik Minasian, leaders of the Dashnaktsutyun party allied to former President Robert Kocharian, hold a news conference in Yerevan, July 6, 2021.

A senior member of the main opposition Hayastan bloc said on Tuesday that it has still not decided whether to take up its seats in Armenia’s new parliament elected on June 20.

Ishkhan Saghatelian said the bloc led by former President Robert Kocharian is waiting for a Constitutional Court ruling on opposition demands for the cancellation of the official election results that gave victory to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s Civil Contract party.

“There were such discussions [on boycotting the newly elected parliament] in the immediate aftermath [of the elections,]” he told a news conference. “We are now inclined towards the other option. But we will formulate our final position after the Constitutional Court ruling.”

Kocharian indicated on June 22 that his bloc will likely take up the 29 seats which it won, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC), in the 107-member National Assembly. He said presence in the parliament will give Hayastan “additional and substantial levers” to challenge Pashinian’s government.

Saghatelian, whose Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) party is a major component of Kocharian’s bloc, seemed to agree.

“If we arrive at the conclusion that we will give new impetus to our struggle by taking up those seats, we will take advantage of the instruments and possibilities of parliamentary opposition,” he said.

Hayastan and former President Serzh Sarkisian’s Pativ Unem bloc, which finished third in the snap elections, appealed to the Constitutional Court on Friday. They claimed to have submitted evidence of irregularities which seriously affected the election outcome.

Pashinian and his associates have described the vote as free and fair. They have pointed to its largely positive assessment by European election observers mostly deployed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The Constitutional Court is due to hand down its verdict before the end of this month.

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