Coalition Opposition Talks Break Down

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Early on Tuesday–opposition leaders in Armenia halted their talks with Armenia’s governing coalition.

On Monday–the opposition presented to the leaders of the governing coalition–an ultimatum that contains ten deman’s–including that a referendum of confidence be held.

The talks resumed Tuesday only to end in half an hour. Opposition representatives said they are freezing the "political consultations" because the authorities have already rejected two of their deman’s by blocking all roads leading to Yerevan and passing a law on rallies.

Parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian said the talks were suspended by the two sides "so the [coalition] parties can discuss the submitted proposals."

Holding yet another rally in Yerevan on Tuesday–opposition leaders also attributed the move to halt talks to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) decision to discuss the political situation in Armenia on Wednesday.

The Armenian parliament approved the law on rallies in the second reading despite strong objections voiced by experts from the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. In an interim report–the Council’s legislative watchdog–the Venice Commission–concluded that the legislation runs counter to the European Convention on Human Rights of which Armenia is a signatory.

In Strasbourg–meanwhile–a PACE commission monitoring Armenia’s compliance with its membership obligations discussed a statement which will be put before the 45-nation assembly for debate on Wednesday.

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