Hovannisian to End Hunger Strike Sunday

Raffi Hovannisian

YEREVAN—Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian announced on Friday that he would end his hunger strike on Sunday, following Easter Services.

At a rally on Liberty Square on Friday, Hovannisian said after ending the hunger strike, he will focus on organizing the popular movement in anticipation of a huge gathering on April 9, the day when Serzh Sarkisian is scheduled to be sworn in as President.

Hovannisian said that after Holy Mass on Sunday, he will end his hunger strike “for faith, the fatherland, peace, and for the future,” and without taking time to recover, start preparing for April 9, together with all citizens of Armenia, Artsakh, and the diaspora.

Hovannisian started his hunger strike on March 10 in protest of massive election fraud during the February 18 presidential elections, which sparked a massive popular movement with him at the helm.

This comes following a week of intense communications between Hovannisian and President Serzh Sarkisian. On March 22, Hovannisian sent a letter to Sarkisian delineating his “final demands” and asking for a discussion of the post elections situation in Armenia.

Among the demands were holding of snap parliamentary elections, as well as what Hovannisian called a blueprint for “comprehensive power sharing.”

In a letter addressed to Hovannisian, Sarkisian on Monday advised the former to put an end to his hunger strike, and then discuss, “without shows,” the “raw” text proposed by Hovannisian.

Hovannisian’s text “will help in starting constructive dialogue,” said Sarkisian. “I am happy that you have expressed readiness to take oversight responsibilities worthy of a strong opposition, and in that issue it seems that we hold similar views. I am confident that if we start working together, with the same goal in mind, we can achieve results.”

Sarkisian concluded, “I advise you to stop your hunger strike, rest and recover for a couple of days, and we, paper and pen in hand, can start working—without shows—working seriously, accepting as basis the text—albeit very raw—that you yourself proposed.”

Hovannisian on Tuesday responded to the letter sent by Sarkisian expressing willingness to discuss the post-election situation in Armenia

In response to Sarkisian’s letter, Hovannisian refused to halt his strike, but expressed encouragement at Sarkisian’s willingness to further dialogue.

“Although, within the general context of the letter, there were questionable arguments and biased views, nevertheless, Your willingness to accept, as basis of discussion, the document I presented can be seen as progress,” said Hovannisian in his response.     “I reaffirm my readiness to meet with and to discuss solutions to national issues that are now on the table at any time and in any format at Liberty Square,” wrote Hovannisian.

“Thank you for your concern about my health, but there is no need to worry, as I am in quite good health and need no recovery, and we can hold our working meeting without delay for the sake of a new constitutional Armenia,” he added.

“If for some reason you do not consider Liberty Square as a proper venue for a meeting, feel free to again present in writing your concrete proposals based on the fundamental points of my document that were absent in your previous message,” concluded Hovannisian.

The president’s spokesman Armen Arzumanyan issued a statement Wednesday, saying that Sarkisian’s proposal of March 25 to opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian remained in force

The presidential spokesman on Wednesday said that Sarkisian has “always been very patient and constructive in his steps.”

“The President’s meetings are organized in accordance with a planned schedule and take place at the President’s Office,” Arzumanyan added.

During an open-air press conference on Wednesday Hovannisian reiterated that the set of conditions on which he would agree to recognize Sarkisian’s “de-facto presidency” were an integral proposal and that if any of the conditions were to be rejected, another one equivalent to it should be suggested, reported RFE/RL.

“This is the lowest threshold around which negotiations can be conducted,” said Hovannisian, insisting that he wasn’t seeking any sort of coalition with the Sarkisian government or bargaining with the authorities over posts, but was trying to find a ‘complex solution’ to the current conundrum.

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9 Comments

  1. zograp said:

    Raffi djan, lav gorts es anum, zguysh exir, hachoxutyun em qez maxtum, du mer verchin huysn es kargavorelu mer hayreniqi kyanqn, mardkants nerkan u apagan, qani vor du toxetsir Ameriakan ir bolor shraylutyunnerov u lav kyanqov u gnatir tsarayelu mer tshvar hayreniqnin u joxovrdin. Joxovurdn qez shat e sirum u hargum, maxtum em qez kanach chanaparh u heru mna xarnakich levonakannerits. Sincerely, gyumretsi ZograpRaffi djan, lav gorts es anum, zguysh exir, hachoxutyun em qez maxtum, du mer verchin huysn es kargavorelu mer hayreniqi kyanqn, mardkants nerkan u apagan, qani vor du toxetsir Ameriakan ir bolor shraylutyunnerov u lav kyanqov u gnatir tsarayelu mer tshvar hayreniqnin u joxovrdin. Joxovurdn qez shat e sirum u hargum, maxtum em qez kanach chanaparh u heru mna xarnakich levonakannerits. Sincerely, gyumretsi Zograpminchev aprili 9 serjik@ piti satki, u ayspes kochvats vehaparn el piti axoti serjiki hogu prkutyan hamar ev mexkeri toxutyan hamar. Joxovurd djan, amur exeq, Raffiin tikunq kangneq, inqn shat hayrenaser u hayaser e, astvats dzes pahapan, zguysh exeq….

    .

  2. Nubar said:

    We Armenians and Amenia cannot afford a so called “Armenian Spring”. (look at the Arab world)
    We cannot survive. It has to be and it must be a “WIN WIN” situatian for all. The President is a very sensible and a reasonable person (we have a better word “VOGHTCHAMID”) to accept to have a dialog with the opposition represented by Mr. Hovanissian.After all thepresindent is officially re-elected and accepted and congratulated by the whole world. On the other hand Raffie is a very noble man with very noble ideas and I’m sure great ideas for local consumption,he can be a great help to stop the expatriation. Mr. Sarkissian has a great external policy keeping Armenia in Peace and strong. Apparently the country is foing forward but lot more is needed. He also knows that for him and the Government, it’s better to have ONE THIRD of the people with him, rather than against him. I’m glad that Mr Hovanissian decided to end the Hunger Strike and to meet and discuss all possibilities and to make a”deal” with the President, and I hope he won’t push to far so things will end up amicably to the best for the country and the Armenian people. We cannot expect to change situations overnight. In my thinking Raffie would be a great Interior Minister with maybe some special powers. Any way we cannot afford to play with “dynamite”.

  3. arziv said:

    I remember him declaring that Sargisian was only going to be sworn as president over his dead body.

    He has changed his mind, it seems.

  4. Georgek Anjargolian said:

    Dear Asbarez,
    I am a resident of Glendale, long time subscriber of Asbarez daily news paper and a very much believer of supporting everything Armenian.

    I am very much disappointed from Raffi Hovannisian.
    Raffi should be reminded that there is no country in this world with 100% fair and free election. Also, it took US, England, France and many other developed countries 100’s of years to be where they are. Do not expect a small country surrounded by enemies, no natural resources and only 22 years of independence to have 100% fair and free election.

    Election was not fair! Who cares! Serzh Sarkisian is going to be out of office in 5 years anyway.

    Instead of asking people to stop work to gather around and listen to him, Raffi should encourage people to work hard and work more to advance our country.

    Germans and Japanese are working hard making progress every day, India and China are taking over the world and Armenians are protesting some stupid election results that were fairer than elections in many other countries in this world.

    We are busy protesting, guess who is celebrating? Turks and Azeri’s for what Raffi is doing.

    Regards

    Georgek Anjargolian

  5. Barkev Asadourian said:

    Կը Շնորհաւորենք այս Քաջաբարօրէն Հացադուլըտ Դադրեցնելու որոշումիտ առիթով, այս մէկը ԵՐԿՐՈՐԴԸ էր յոյսով ենք այլեւս վէրջ տակ այսպիսի Որոշումներէ յետ ապագային, կը նմանցնենք Ողորմութիւն պահանջելու նորութիւն մը, Արդի Քաղաքական Տիւանագիտութիւն կը պահանջէ ըլլաս GENTLEMAN մըտնաս քաղագիտութեան դաշտը վեհօրեն լուծելով ամէն տեսակ խնդիրները․ օրինակ Հարաւ Ափրիկա Նախագահը նշանակուէցաւ բանտարկութիւնէն վէրջ , ի վէրջոյ ՊԱՅՔԱՐՈՎ Է յարաջ Կընթանայ հաջողութիւնը։

  6. Hagop hagopian said:

    What happened to”…over my dead body…” What a coward

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