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Vanetsian Confirms Split From Opposition Coalition


Armenia - Fatherland party leader Artur Vanetsian addresses an opposition rally in Yerevan, May 1, 2022.

Former National Security Service (NSS) Director Artur Vanetsian has confirmed that his Fatherland party is parting ways with other major opposition forces that have been jointly trying to topple Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian with street protests.

Vanetsian said on Tuesday that he is resigning his parliament seat because he believes the National Assembly has “ceased to be an effective platform” for challenging the Armenian government. He also announced the breakup of Fatherland’s Pativ Unem alliance with former President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK).

In an interview with Armenian Public Television aired hours later, Vanetsian said he is “separating” from the HHK and the main opposition Hayastan bloc headed by another ex-president, Robert Kocharian.

“I have my agenda and follow my agenda,” he said. “There are certain differences on the ways of achieving the ultimate [opposition] goal … Let me not go into details now. You will see my further actions.”

The HHK’s deputy chairman, Armen Ashotian, acknowledged “tactical” differences with Vanetsian’s party but did not elaborate on them. He stressed that the country’s main opposition forces still share the same “strategic goals.”

Gegham Manukian, a lawmaker representing Hayastan, said it “respects” Vanetsian’s decision and believes their “joint struggle” against Pashinian will continue. He also made clear that Kocharian’s bloc will not give up its 29 seats in the 107-member parliament.

Ashotian hinted that the four lawmakers affiliated with the HHK also have no plans to resign from the parliament.

Pativ Unem and Hayastan launched on May 1 daily demonstrations in Yerevan aimed at forcing Pashinian to resign. In what they called a change of tactics, opposition leaders announced on June 14 that they will now hold antigovernment rallies in Yerevan on a weekly basis. Their next rally is scheduled for Friday.

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