YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–A leading Armenian opposition party on Monday demanded the resignation of Levon Ter-Petrosyan–whom it holds responsible for the ongoing political crisis over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In a statement issued Monday–the National Democratic Union said the internal strife triggered by the recent armed attacks on senior government officials has been a consequence of Ter-Petrosyan’s wider policy of "holding on to power at any cost."
The statement accused Ter-Petrosyan of resorting to violence because his power was "jeopardized" by those ruling circles that oppose his conciliatory views on how to end the conflict with Azerbaijan.
The statement said the people of Armenia must have a decisive say in the "power struggle," which should involve early–free and fair elections.
Ter-Petrosyan’s resignation is the main precondition for holding elections–according to the party. The strongly-worded statement says the only way for Armenia to resolve its pressing sociopolitical problems is "to return to the path of democracy."
The NDU still considers its leader–former Prime Minister Vazgen Manukian–to be the rightful winner of the September 1996 presidential elections.
The NDU–backed by most opposition parties–has accused the authorities of falsifying the vote results in favor of the incumbent Ter-Petrosyan.