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Constitutional Reforms Opponents Hold Rally in Yerevan, Urge Armenians to Reject Changes

The No Front, an alliance of opposition parties and civic groups, among them – Armenian National Congress (ANC) and Zharangutyun (Heritage), held their first Yerevan rally on Friday, October 2, urging Armenians to say no to the constitutional reforms project initiated by President Serzh Sargsyan. The amendments suggest Armenia transitions to a parliamentary system of government, and through them, opponents claim, Sargsyan only seeks to 'eternalize' his and ruling Republican Party’s rule.

"If we vote for the changes, it will be the last vote in the country since after the [referendum on the amendments] Serzh Sargsyan’s and the Republicans’ rule will be constitutionally eternalized," ANC parliamentary faction secretary Aram Manukyan said during the rally in Yerevan’s Freedom Square.

“Remembering his communist past, Sargsyan wants to become secretary of an executive committee and, as head of the party, deal with all the issues. [He seeks to become] a General Secretary [as in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union] and to be able to combine this position with the post of the Prime Minister or Parliament Speaker. Why not? But the most he can do is sit [at the party head office] and decide matters like who’ll beat whom, who’ll give money to whom, who’ll finance the centennial of the Armenian Genocide…” Manukyan stated.

The Republican leader, the oppositionist continued, is turning against multipartiness and pluralism for which Armenian people have fought for years: “After 20 years of independence, this man wants to turn back time. He’s decided to get rid of the semi-presidential system. What he’s saying is ‘If I’m not [president] then nobody is’.”

Addressing Armenia’s major businessmen, Manukyan claimed that with the new government system Serzh Sargsyan would 'get hold of everything': “What else do you need to realize that he’s coming for you, too? There’s going to be only one oligarch, and that’s [Sargsyan].”

Recall, the No Front held their first rally on September 25 in Armenia’s second largest city of Gyumri. The opposition alliance plans to hold rallies across the country in the coming weeks.