Markarian Regrets Opposition Boycott of Parliament Sessions

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Prime Minister Andranik Markarian expressed regret on Wednesday at the decision of opposition deputies to boycott parliament sessions.

"Of course–it would be desirable to see the opposition participate in the National Assembly’s work," he told reporters. "But that was their decision and there is no way we can impose our view on them. We don’t even want to do that."

Asked whether the opposition boycott heralds a new political crisis in the country–he replied: "I wouldn’t draw such conclusions from the latest developmen’s."

Armenia’s two main opposition groups announced the joint boycott in protest against what they call an "illegal" refusal to consider a popular vote of confidence in President Robert Kocharian.

On Monday–the National Assembly voted to turn down an April 16–2003 recommendation by the Constitutional Court to amend the Law on Referendum–and conduct a "referendum of confidence" in President Kocharian.

The majority insists that a suggestion by Armenia’s Constitutional Court has no legal basis.

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