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Armenian Opposition Bloc Parties Unite For Parliamentary Elections

Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian
Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian
The nearly two dozen opposition groups aligned in the main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) have decided to contest the upcoming parliamentary elections jointly.

“The congress will participate in the election in an alliance of the 18 parties affiliated with the HAK,” Hovannes Hovannisian, the leader of one of those parties, told RFE/RL after a meeting of the HAK’s Political Council.

It was not clear if the HAK -- which is led by former President Levon Ter-Petrossian -- will also seek to team up with other opposition forces for the May 6 parliamentary elections. Many analysts believe the formation of a more broad-based opposition bloc is unlikely.

According to Hovannisian, the HAK forces have yet to start discussing the list of their candidates to be fielded for 90 of the 131 parliament seats that will be available under the system of proportional representation.

“We agreed that next week the Political Council will start drawing up the proportional representation list and discussing the principles [of doing that],” he said, adding that the list will definitely be headed by Ter-Petrossian.

The remaining 41 seats are to be distributed in single-mandate nationwide constituencies.

The HAK and other major opposition groups are pressing the authorities to abolish this system and hold the elections slated for May only on the party-list basis.

The authorities have rejected this demand.

Hovannisian said the HAK will field candidates in single-seat districts only after the opposition exhausts all possibilities to bring electoral reform.

Ter-Petrossian told HAK activists in late October to start preparing for the 2012 elections. He said the HAK should seek to gain “weighty presence” in the next parliament in order to impeach President Serzh Sarkisian “single-handedly or in an alliance with other forces.”

Ter-Petrossian's chief lieutenant, Levon Zurabian, said in late December that the authorities will face an antigovernment revolt if they rig the vote.
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