Opposition Must Act in Accordance with Constitution Says Kocharian

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–In what appeared to be a response to recent step up pressure by Armenia’s opposition alliance–Armenia’s President Robert Kocharian said during a press conference on Wednesday that political parties–in fact–have the right to pursue policy and strategy–as long they stay within the bounds of the Constitution. "I am confident that current developmen’s will go no where because they contradict our Constitution," he said.

Leaders of the largest Armenian opposition alliance decided Tuesday to hold more frequent meetings with supporters around the country in a bid to step up pressure on President Robert Kocharian.

Describing the desire for a change in power as a "natural phenomenon," Kocharian said the opposition consistently longs for power–and that a strong and organized opposition is the leadership’s best stimulus to work more effectively. "I would welcome new–strong forces in politics if they appeared via a combination of several parties. It is clear–however–that uniting simply to oppose will never bring positive results in any country. Working together for an idea–this is the only formula that brings about constructive change," stressed Kocharian.

Asked if concerned about talk of pre-term presidential elections–Kocharian pointed to the uncertainty of the idea–saying "In spring–they were saying this change will take place in autumn–and in autumn–we heard about the expected processes in spring?but I do not worry because the opposition is only strong when it acts in accordance with the law–but weak when it does not so," said the president.

On Tuesday–the ruling board of the opposition Justice bloc reaffirmed the ongoing boycott of parliament sessions by opposition lawmakers–insisting on its deman’s for a national vote of confidence in Kocharian. Its members declined to detail–however–further actions planned for the coming weeks.

Kocharian in the meantime–pointing to either resignation or impeachment as the only two legal avenues for the removal of a president said–"I have no intention to resign. They may start this process and it will become one of their constitutional steps directed towards the change of power," he said.

He also called the opposition boycott of parliament sessions as a "boycott of their duties," saying that though members of parliament have rights–they also have duties–the main one being legislative activity. "Their action aims at drawing attention to domestic issues–and is an attempt to show that Armenia faces an internal political crisis."

He said their actions are aimed at destabilizing the country–and a potentially serious blow to economy–and called for the opposition "to grasp their responsibility to the country."

He guaranteed that the leadership will use all legal measures to prevent anti-constitutional moves–referring to the 14th point of the 55th article of the Constitution–which gives the president a number of options to restore constitutional order. "The leadership does not pursue any means to discredit the opposition," he reassured.

Referring to the recent Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) winter session in Strasbourg–when opposition members of the Armenian delegation attempted to push internal issues and unsuccessfully tried to get PACE to back the idea of a change of power–the president said that such issues were uncalled for–and that Council of Europe should not be used as a tool to fight Armenia’s domestic issues. "The resulting [PACE] vote revealed that no one has any intention of becoming a party to Armenia’s internal relations," said Kocharian.

Commenting on the referendum of confidence offered by Armenia’s Constitutional Court–the president said that the chairman of the highest Court clarified numerous times that it was simply a suggestion and not imperative.

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