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Armenia: Defections In Parliament Weaken President Ter-Petrosyan

  • Emil Danielyan

Yerevan, 3 February 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Armenia's President Levon Ter-Petrosyan is in jeopardy of losing majority support in Parliament, according to reports on Tuesday. The reports say members of the governing Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh) are defecting to a rival bloc, which represents Armenian veterans of the Karabakh dispute, and, which supports Prime Minister Robert Kocharian.

RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reports more than half of the 96 Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh) members defected yesterday to the Armenian veterans group, Yerkrapah ('Volunteers'). The veterans group is now reported to be the largest faction in parliament.

The veterans group had supported Ter-Petrosyan, but group leader Albert Bazeyan has now called for the President to step down.

Speaking in parliament today, Bazeyan said Ter-Petrosyan's policy on the Karabakh dispute was "defeatist," and a "threat to Armenia's national security." Bazeyan said his group is determined to implement its own policy on Nagorno-Karabakh, but he did not today repeat his demand that Ter-Petrosyan step down.