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Kocharian Gives Up Parliament Seat


Armenia - Former President Robert Kocharian shakes hands with supporters during an election campaign rally in Yerevan's Nor Nork district, June 9, 2021.

Former President Robert Kocharian on Monday announced that he will not after all take up his seat in Armenia’s new parliament and will cede it to another member of his Hayastan alliance which finished second in the June 20 elections.

In a written appeal to supporters, Kocharian said he does not want to join the National Assembly because he has always been a “man of the executive branch.” He said “thousands” of his supporters also think that the former president of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh “must not tempted by a parliament deputy’s mandate.”

“After all, people voted for me as the Alliance’s candidate for the post of prime minister,” Kocharian wrote on his Facebook page.

The 66-year-old ex-president, who had ruled Armenia from 1998-2008, went on to emphasize that he will remain the top leader of the country’s leading opposition force and keep fighting for the realization of its objectives.

“I am convinced that that it is now better to cede my seat to my teammates, each of whom will definitely make a good deputy,” he said.

Kocharian announced his decision two days after the Constitutional Court upheld the official election results which gave victory to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s Civil Contract party. The court thus rejected separate appeals lodged by Hayastan and three other opposition groups.

Like those groups, Hayastan has alleged serious irregularities which it believes seriously affected the outcome of the snap polls.

Kocharian’s bloc has still not officially stated whether it will accept its 29 seats in the 107-member parliament. One of its leading members, Ishkhan Saghatelian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Monday that the decision will be announced on Wednesday.

Kocharian indicated earlier that he believes his bloc should not boycott the National Assembly and give up “additional and substantial levers” to challenge Pashinian’s government.

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