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Former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s speech was surprisingly short as he addressed the opposition rally on Friday in central Yerevan. The opposition leader is known for his 1-hour long speeches.
This time the basic idea was simple: Ter-Petrosian urged the crowd not to fall into “despair” and “anger”, as the crowd half-heatedly cheered in support of jailed editor Nikol Pashinian who is standing elections for Parliament in by-elections scheduled on Sunday.
To cheer up supporters a little more, the opposition leader said the crowd gathered for the rally would be enough to ensure Nikol Pashinian’s victory, even though there were only about 2 thousand people present.
Ter-Petrosian also called a victory the fact, that two years after the February 2008 presidential elections, crowds of his supporters are still persistent in their rallies. RFE/RL has more:
Addressing more than two thousand people that gathered in Yerevan, Ter-Petrosian pledged to unveil a “more clear and comprehensive political program” during “a much more powerful rally” which he said will be held on March 1. It will coincide with the second anniversary of deadly street clashes between opposition protesters and security protests which were sparked by the disputed presidential election of February 2008.
Ter-Petrosian gave no details of his new plan of actions, saying only that it “can not fail to have an impact in the course of this year.”
“You are the wealth of this country,” Ter-Petrosian told the crowd. The crowd cheered. For a moment, it seemed, they really believed in the possibility of victory…
Other speekers at the rally claimed victory is possible too, and Armenian National Congress coordinator Levon Zurabian spoke of a plot by law-enforcement bodies to make sure Pashinian looses in the elections.
Nikol Pashinian, who was forced to campaign from behind the bars, will face Ara Simonian, a member of Artashes Geghamian’s “National Unity” party and a relative to Yerevan’s powerful mayor Gagik Beglarian. The opposition claims the full power of rulling Republican party which worked against Ter-Petrosian to put Beglarian in Yerevan’s municipality, will now be working against Pashinian to ensure vicotory for Ara Simonian.
Looking at the people freezing in opposition’s rally, I wondered, do these people really believe Pashinian stands a chance?