Post-election standoff: Hunger-striking Hovannisian still waiting to hear word from Sargsyan

Raffi Hovannisian, an opposition leader disputing the official presidential election results, told the press during a Monday open-air press conference that parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamyan did not make any proposals during his late Friday visit. Hovannisian, who has been on hunger strike, permanently stationed in Yerevan’s Liberty Square since March 10, once again stressed that he is willing to hear out only Serzh Sargsyan.

“My interlocutor is Serzh Sarsyan and at present Serzh Sargsyan has made no suggestions. When Mr. Abrahamyan came, it was a courtesy visit, he was eager to find a solution to this situation, but we did not talk anything substantial. I made it very clear that I do not view him as a mediator or a messenger. Mr. Sargsyan can talk to me directly, be it orally or in writing, whichever suits him better, and make suggestions. Mr. Abrahamyan is not someone to bring offers, he cannot suggest anything to me on Sargsyan’s behalf,” stated the opposition leader on the 9th day of his hunger strike.

Hovannisian is demanding that the incumbent president “accept the people’s victory and resign” until April 9, which is the official Inauguration Day.

The parliament speaker told the press after his meeting with the Heritage party leader that “the authorities are willing to find a compromise as long as it is reasonable”. Abrahamyan, however, does not think that a presidential election re-run or snap parliamentary elections are reasonable demands – something that Hovannisian suggested to Sargsyan during their February 21 meeting at the presidential compound.

Tonight president Sargsyan is to hold a press conference and is expected to speak about Hovannisian’s demands. Hovannisian, in turn, said he had no appeals to address to Sargsyan prior to the press conference.

“Whatever suggestions I have made, he has refused. If he wants, I will listen to what he has to offer, but those have to be solutions of state importance, allowing the victorious people to see themselves in that solution. Whoever has offers to make directly to me, I will gladly hear them out. But the people’s demand, the people’s right has to be reflected in that solution, and that implies a strategically important and unprecedentedly painful step forward. He either joins the people halfway, or if he is planning to throw crumbs, I believe it’ll be unacceptable. The rest, I’ll wait for substantial suggestions from Mr. Sargsyan,” said Hovannisian.