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Don’t Exult from Armenian Opposition Forces Uniting, Cautions Analyst

What's important at the Jan. 18 rally against the proposed pension reforms is the participation of the citizens who initiated it and their adhering to their principles, and not the participation of the four political parties (Armenian National Congress, Prosperous Armenia, Armenian Revolutionary Federation, and the Heritage Party) that have joined the demonstration, said Ruben Mehrabyan, an analyst with the Armenian Center for Political and International Studies, at a press conference today, adding that past experience shows that when citizens are not at the center of political processes such processes turn into political games. 

Mehrabyan admitted that it's good that parliamentary factions that are not members of the ruling coalition are united and will participate in the demonstration, but he advises not to forget that those parties are quite spotty and some of them made compromises that were not in the public interest with the ruling authorities in the past.

"We shouldn't exult from that unity," he cautioned, remarking that some people consider positive that former president of Armenia Robert Kocharian also spoke out against the pension reforms.

Note, the group initiating the struggle against pension reforms places importance on the four parliamentary parties' participation in the march also because those parties have appealed to the Constitutional Court and have to keep an eye on the issue.

Accordiing to Mehrabyan, it's important that citizens who are actively fighting, who are intelligent and the future of Armenia, realize that this is not only an economic, but also a political matter. "It's important that we turn the sectoral struggle into a systematic struggle. We have examples of when there were sectoral [fragmentary] successes; for example, the 100 dram [transportation fare] campaign, which was magnificent. But now it's not ruled out that city hall will again make such illegal decisions. The struggle didn't lead to a change in policy," he said.