Opposition leader lays out ‘ultimate’ compromise to end postelection standoff

Opposition leader lays out ‘ultimate’ compromise to end postelection standoff


Raffi Hovannisian, the runner-up in last month’s presidential election who is currently on a hunger strike in Yerevan, has sent written proposals to President Serzh Sargsyan whose victory he disputes to end what he describes as an all-national crisis caused by the ‘fraudulent’ ballot.

Before putting a signed document into an envelope and posting it, Hovannisian first read it out before several thousand supporters who gathered for another Friday rally in Liberty Square.

The essence of the six-point proposal that Hovannisian described as the ultimate level of compromise that he and his supporters can agree to is that in the absence of the government will to hold pre-term presidential elections, it is offered to organize snap parliamentary polls before the end of the year, with due electoral reform to be carried out before that, including a switch to a 100-percent proportional system, publication of lists of voters who go to the polls, permission of citizens abroad to vote or at least the removal of their names from electoral rolls.

Hovannisian also demanded that at least five governors be replaced by people to be appointed by him and that all local officials and other officials who committed fraud in the February 18 election be prosecuted by law.

Lastly, the opposition leader demanded key positions in the government for people to be named by him. The positions and institutions he referred to include: the Prosecutor-General’s Office, the Tax and Customs Service, the National Security Service, the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Control Chamber, the Justice Council and the Anti-Corruption Commission.

Hovannisian again warned that Sargsyan must provide a solution by April 9, the day when he is officially due to be sworn in for a second five-year term as president.

In an interview with media earlier this week President Sargsyan, the certified winner of the February 18 election, said he did not understand what his former election rival was after but would respond to a well-formulated proposal.

Sargsyan and Hovannisian already met at the presidential compound on February 21, three days after the election, but could not find common grounds to resolve the crisis then. Both said afterwards their proposals had been rejected by the opposite party.