The leader of largest opposition force, the Armenian National Congress (HAK), criticised impatient people amongst its followers and said “open dialogue” with the authorities should be appreciated.
Speaking to RFE/RL’s Armenian service in Artik HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrossian dismissed critics, who say he has made behind-the-scenes arrangements with president Serzh Sargsian. “There’s no need to talk of certain arrangements. No, its an open dialogue. We openly present our demands, our problems, our programs to the authorities and the public, and the authorities are openly responding to them,” he said.
Ter-Petrosian warned the Sarkisian government to hold snap elections and meet other HAK demands or face a popular revolt as he launched a fresh campaign of antigovernment demonstrations in Yerevan in February. But since than, he has toned down his speeches and narrowed down demands to 3 main points which the authorities seem determined to fulful in order to engage in a dilaogue with the opposition force.
More specifically, the authorities sanctioned HAK rally in Liberty square for the first time since 2008 post-election violence in Yerevan, promised a more thorogh investigation of those events which left 10 dead, and started releasing jailed oppositionists.
Ter-Petrosian insisted that his decision to back away from another standoff with the government has not disappointed many of his supporters who hoped for a quick leadership change in Armenia. “Naturally, there are impatient people, people not understanding the process, who think that issues could have been solved in a different way,” he added. “I am sure that the different way would have ruined those issues.”
Some of the quick conclusions that can be drawn from Ter-Petrossian’s words, are the following.
- Whatever you call it, “dialogue” or “agreements”, it seems clear, that President Sargsian’s ruling Republican party (HHK) will continue to remain in power for the next 5-6 years.
- Ter-Petrossian’s HAK will gain parliamentary mandates in the next year’s parliamentary elections.
- Some of the more radical forces among HAK will be pushed out and perhaps join movements like Sardarapat led by Karabakh war-veteran Zhirayr Sefilian.
- Other opposition forces, like Heritage (Zharangutyun) and Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF-Dashnaktsutyun) will loose some of their parliamentary sits (or be completely gone from parliament) as they see increased competition from HAK.