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Armenia: Ministry Overturns Ban On Opposition Party


Yerevan, 9 February 1998 (RFE/RL) - A leading opposition organization, the Dashnak Party (HHD), has been re-registered in Armenia. The party was banned in December 1994 on grounds it harbored a clandestine terror group. Our correspondent reports that Armenia's Justice Ministry today ruled that the party's structure and statutes no longer violate Armenian law.

In the summer of 1995, 31 party members and supporters of the party were arrested and charged with plotting a coup. Two trials, which were condemned by the opposition and human right groups, found no links between the party and terrorists or coup plans.

In a related development, a party member and prominent Karabakh war veteran, Hrant Markarian, was released from prison this morning after the Supreme Court overturned his current jail term.

Also in Yerevan today, the Armenian National Democratic Party chairman and presidential candidate Vazgen Manukian said that last week's resignation of President Levon Ter-Petrosyan could speed up the democratization process in the country.

He said the resignation opened the way for conducting new elections that will be perceived both by the Armenian population and the international community as wholly free, fair and democratic.

Both Manukian and Vigen Sargsian, editor of the NDU's newspaper "Ayzhm," called for the deployment of the maximum number of international election observers to ensure this. Early elections will be held March 16.
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