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Armenian Opposition Party Leaders Resign

 Levon Ter-Petrossian heads the opposition Armenian National Congress
Levon Ter-Petrossian heads the opposition Armenian National Congress
YEREVAN -- Two leaders of a key Armenian opposition party aligned with the main opposition bloc, the Armenian National Congress (HAK), have stepped down, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

The departures come amid conflicting reports about their disagreements with the HAK, which is led by former Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossian.

The Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh), which was Armenia's ruling party from 1990-1998, announced the resignation of its chairman, Ararat Zurabian in a statement issued June 17. The statement gave no reason why he left his post.

HHSh spokesman Karen Karapetian told RFE/RL that "Mr. Zurabian resigned only as chairman of the HHSh board and remains a member of the board." He said Zurabian himself would comment on the resignation.

Zurabian, who spent several months in detention after Armenia's disputed 2008 presidential election, stepped down just days after the surprise resignation of his deputy, Khachatur Kokobelian.

Kokobelian, who resigned on June 12, refused to comment to RFE/RL at HHSh headquarters on June 17. He said he will explain his decision later.

The HHSh spokesman claimed earlier this week that Kokobelian quit because of disagreements with the HAK's cautious strategy of challenging Armenia's leadership. Kokobelian, a prominent businessman, told RFE/RL that he favors more "decisive" actions against the administration of President Serzh Sarkisian.

According to some unconfirmed reports, Zurabian and Kokobelian were suspected by HAK leaders of secretly collaborating with Armenian authorities.

Ter-Petrossian, who maintains a strong influence on the HHSh, the former ruling party, is said to have personally told them to resign from the HHSh leadership.

HAK representative Vladimir Karapetian declined to confirm or refute the reports.