Hovannesian Calls for Talks to Restore Democracy

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau member and presidential candidate Vahan Hovannesian issued another announcement Thursday urging for talks between Armenia’s political players in order to restore order and democracy in the country.
Hovannesian, who resigned as Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly late last week, told reporters at a press conference on Thursday that the current situation playing out in the country does not benefit the Armenian people. Civil unrest is dividing the population, weakening the state, and creating an environment of conflict in Armenia, the former presidential candidate said.
Armenian society is in search of justice and they have every right to be, Hovannesian said. But, he also noted that the price of that struggle should not be the weakening of the state standing in the international community or the future of Arstakh.
According to Hovannesian this environment of intolerance has been present for years and it only results in negative consequences. One example of this manifestation, Hovannesian said, is the tendency of candidates who lose elections to blame their loss entirely on electoral fraud.
"I welcome all sincere calls for tolerance and cooperation," Hovannesian said. "We have to prevent clashes from becoming a possibility and only negotiations will be able to prevent this outcome."
Hovannesian proposed an agenda for negotiating the current political and social impasse that he believes will allow all political forces to reach an agreement and soothe tensions in the country. Negotiations, according to him, will allow for Armenia to continue along the path of democratization.
There are three major challenges the country currently faces, he said. The first is to form an electoral system that precludes any possibility of electoral fraud. The second major issue is the necessity for pluralism and real freedoms of speech and expression. The third obstacle, he explained, is the lack of real avenues available to the opposition. This issue must be rectified, and the opposition must be guaranteed an avenue in which to carry out its activities, Hovannesian added.
"We have to discharge this environment or else we will not be able to settle the issues that we are facing both in the country and in the international arena," Hovannesian said.

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