Opposition Moves Strengthen Coalition Says Kocharian

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Meeting with reporters at the National Picture Gallery on Tuesday–President Robert Kocharian dismissed allegations that he plans to disband parliament and appoint a new cabinet.

"I can say for certain that I do not have such intentions," Kocharian told reporters. "We are able to work effectively with this political team. We are going to work together at least until the next parliamentary elections–which is for three more years."

He pointed to the absurdity of such assertions especially when considering Armenia’s economic growth and smooth implementation of the national budget. "Dissolution of a government that provides economic growth is nonsense," he said.

Rumors of internal dissentions emerged last week when coalition government members–in a joint statement–announced they would not be attending parliament sessions–so as to avoid possible clashes between their supporters and the opposition crowd.

Referring to those rumors–Kocharian insisted that the governing coalition partners have not boycotted parliament sessions–and plan to resume work next week. "The previous session did not take place because of the demonstration and threats specifically addressed to the parliament."

He suggested that the coalition has even strengthened and begun to work more effectively–in having to face the opposition. "The concept of having to work within a coalition has not yet developed in our country; this [was perhaps] the incentive necessary for the political forces in the coalition to work more closely and in a coordinated manner."

Asked about the opposition’s pledge to continue to seek his resignation–he said that as long as the opposition organizes its meetings and demonstrations without closing the streets and without unlawful actions–they are allowed to do so. He cautioned that though it is natural for the opposition to seek to replace those in power–it is also natural for the leadership of any country–to take steps to provide stability. "We are doing our job; we have done it–and will continue doing it–while the opposition shirks its duties in parliament–and gathers meetings in the streets."

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