YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian said on Wednesday that his offer to form a new, more broad-based coalition government has met with a positive response from some of the Armenian opposition leaders who challenged him in last week’s presidential election.
In a speech at a Tuesday rally in Yerevan, Sarkisian said he is ready to defuse rising political tensions in Armenia by cutting a power-sharing deal with those "constructive" opposition forces that will recognize his victory in the disputed vote.
"There has already been reaction, readiness to cooperate from the opposition," he told lawmakers the next day. "We began working on that today."
In a separate conversation with journalists, Sarkisian declined to specify which opposition leaders have expressed readiness to cooperate with him. "It’s not one candidate," he said. "There a few of them. They’ll talk about that."
In his speech, Sarkisian did not say whether the offer applies to former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, his main election challenger who has refused to concede defeat and is demanding a repeat presidential election. The president-elect accused Ter-Petrosian and his "aggressive grouping" of ignoring "the majority’s opinion" and seeking to seize power by illegal means.
Both Ter-Petrosian and his top allies were quick to rule out any deals with Armenia’s current leadership. "Either Serzhik or the people will leave this country," the former president told supporters on Wednesday. "There can be no other way out."
Sarkisian’s offer to create a more broad coalition follows warnings by President Robert Kocharian Tuesday that his patience was wearing thin with the seven-day demonstration against a presidential election protestors say was rigged.
The election was the best one in the history of Armenia, said Kocharian. The President’s remarks came during an interview with Armenian Public Television Tuesday night.
According to Kocharian, the post-election tension in Armenia is the result of an underdeveloped political culture in Armenia.
Kocharian stated that the protests of the Ex-President are directed "against the republic."
The President reminded that a few months ago Ter-Petrosian already stated that he planed to "dismantle the bases of state structures". According to Robert Kocharyan, in the pre-election period several groups of Ter-Petrosian’s supporters carried out active work, trying to court government officials and representatives of law-enforcement bodies.
"Levon Ter-Petrosian drove himself into a deadlock, when two weeks ago he declared himself the winner," Kocharian said.
"He has only one way out-to gather those people at the square and keep them there with the use of various tricks," the President noted.
Ter-Petrosian’s protests have been staged illegally and the state cannot endlessly tolerate such violations of law, Kocharian said as he commented on the fact that supporters of Ter-Petrosian have been holding unapproved rallies in the center of Yerevan. These rallies, he said, have been paralyzing the vital activity of the capital city.
"It has been seven days since the opposition began holding unauthorized rallies. The police were going to take measures, but I urged them to be patient, not to exacerbate the situation hoping that prudence will win and these people will go home," Kocharian said during a televised appearance Tuesday evening.
"Patience has its limits. How many more days will this continue?" Kocharian asked. "I think its time for people to calm down," he said.
"I do call on all those who gathered in Freedom Square not to become a tool in the hands of irresponsible political figures," he added.
"The newly-elected President of Armenia’stated that he intends to be the President of the whole nation, and not only the people, who gave him their votes. I have no doubts that this will come true. Most likely, the formation of the new government will involve wider political circles, and not only the Republican Party of Armenia and the "Prosperous Armenia" Party", the President stated.