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Like the Arab Spring, But Without Bloodshed: Ter-Petrossian’s Take on Events in Armenia

First president of the Republic of Armenia and Armenian National Congress (HAK) leader Levon Ter-Petrossian at the rally organized by his opposition bloc turned his attention to the HAK’s next steps.

Ter-Petrossian noted that considering the fact that HAK’s 3 key demands have been met, the opposition is ready to have a dialogue with the authorities in a formal context; that is, at the delegation level.

“In the coming days we will decide our delegation team, which will be comprised of 3–5 people, and we will present our dialogue agenda to the authorities. Naturally, the authorities have to do the same — both in terms of forming a delegation and in presenting their own agenda. The [Armenian National] Congress’ agenda is clear: the holding of pre-term presidential and parliamentary elections. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take into consideration the agenda and counter-proposals also presented by the authorities; otherwise the parties’ equality will be broken.

“Moreover, during the dialogue we can’t ignore the 15 remaining demands announced on the Mar. 1… Let me recall, as already stated in Levon Zurabyan’s speech, one of the priority issues in our talks with the authorities must be the release of political prisoners Murad Bojolyan and Sarkis Hatspanian, as well as the the requirement to grant citizenship or residency status to the latter [note, Hatspanian is a French citizen].

“If we try to describe current political developments in Armenia in one sentence, then it’s obvious that essentially the same is taking place here as in the Arab world; that is, and change of power and forced early elections through popular pressure,” said Ter-Petrossian.

The HAK leader, however, noted that unlike in Arab countries, Armenia’s opposition strives to achieve a change in power not through turmoil, upheavals and bloodshed, but through peaceful, constitutional means.

“I am confident that if the Arab people also had this alternative, they would’ve preferred to have acted similarly. As for how much our chosen path is guaranteed, that depends not so much on the [Armenian National] Congress as much the united efforts of the entire nation and on the ability to constantly keep the process under public supervision. In the case of steadfastness by the authorities, independent of our will, the Arabic version is not excluded, because it’s not always that the behavior of peoples who have reached the edge of despair can be subject to the dictates of reason. We hope that the authorities will have enough wisdom to understand this simple truth,” said Ter-Petrossian.

The HAK leader then concluded by noting that rallies will take place as necessary, “in order to keep you informed of the dialogue process,” and that the next rally is planned for June (no exact date has yet been specified).