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Armenian Opposition Leaders Threaten 'Regime Change'

Hrant Markarian

Hrant Markarian

YEREVAN -- An Armenian opposition leader says his party will campaign for President Serzh Sarkisian's resignation if he signs a controversial normalization agreement with Turkey, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun) leader Hrant Markarian told RFE/RL that his party is willing to find a compromise with the government, but added that it "will not hesitate to go to the end, to go for regime change."

Dashnaktsutiun, which was part of Armenia's ruling coalition until April, has refrained from seeking to unseat Sarkisian despite its harsh criticism of the Turkish-Armenian protocols.

It has instead proposed amendments to the documents and tried to prevent their unconditional ratification by parliament.

Another Dashnaktsutiun leader, Vahan Hovannisian, told RFE/RL that he cannot predict what will happen until he knows whether the protocols will be signed and ratified.

Another major opposition party, Heritage (Zharangutiun), has also threatened to push for a change of leadership.

Its leader, Raffi Hovannisian, said on October 8 that the signing and ratification of the protocols "would create the need for fresh" presidential and parliamentary elections.

Both parties and several other smaller opposition groups held a rally in Yerevan on October 8 to protest the Turkish-Armenian deal.

The influential Armenian National Congress (HAK) has refused to join the Dashnaktsutiun-led campaign, citing its reluctance to place Sarkisian's ouster atop its agenda.

HAK leaders say Dashnaktsutiun still has close ties with the government.