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Armenian Opposition Leader Withdraws Resignation

Raffi Hovannisian (file photo)
YEREVAN -- Raffi Hovannisian, the leader of the Armenian opposition party Zharangutyun (Heritage), has decided to withdraw his resignation from parliament, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Hovannisian made his announcement on September 30, the last day of a 15-day period before his resignation would have taken effect.

He said he had been urged by people both in Armenia and in the diaspora "to take up the challenge and use the limited forum that the National Assembly offers to speak in the name of truth and justice." He also confirmed that his resignation was a protest against President Serzh Sarkisian's conciliatory policy on Turkey.

Zharangutyun member Zaruhi Postanjian welcomed Hovannisian's move and confirmed that senior party members appealed to him not to resign his parliament seat.

Meanwhile, Eduard Sharmazanov, spokesman for the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, found Hovannisian's behavior erratic and "unserious."

Hovannisian holds no formal position in Zharangutyun despite being its de facto top leader. His September 7 resignation was followed by the expulsion from the party ranks of three senior figures, including a member of Armenia's Central Election Commission who later accused the party's nominal chairman, Armen Martirosian, of foul play and secret collaboration with the government.

Martirosian and his allies, who dominate Zharangutyun's decision-making board, have rejected the accusations.