Opposition pauses: too early to speak of collaboration

1 July 05

In a rare case of cooperation, representatives of the authorities and
opposition in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
(PACE) held a joint news conference this week. Usually the views of
the authorities and opposition differ on the issues discussed at PACE
sessions; this time there seemed to be a consensus.

The latest PACE plenary session discussed the Armenian constitutional
amendments, and the Armenian delegation declared a balanced document
was adopted. Shavarsh Kocharian, opposition member of the National
Assembly, noted that this would make it possible to bring the country
out of the internal crisis.

Speaking at the joint news conference, he said the opposition insists
that the Constitutional amendments should comply with the memorandum
of understanding Armenia has signed with the Venice Commission. So, is
the opposition ready to collaborate with the authorities and
relinquish its calls for the regime change? "We are ready to
collaborate as far as the Constitutional amendments are concerned,"
Shavarsh Kocharian said. "I believe there are issues that more
important than the relations between the authorities and opposition."
He added that goal of revolutions is bring about reforms.

In his turn, Hrant Khachatrian, another opposition member of the
Natioanl Assembly, said that what happened in Strasbourg was not the
authorities' achievement, the Council of Europe pressured the Armenian
authorities to concede. "This is the victory of the Armenian people
and opposition," he said, adding that unless the authorities take
steps towards getting rid of the clan system, the opposition may
consider adopting a relevant tactics.

Another opposition politician, Hmayak Hovhannisian of the Liberal
Progressive Party not represented in the NA, mentioned that the
"upbeat" sentiment has no grounds. "Nothing is clear yet. We will make
a statement only after the final draft (of the amendments) is ready,"
he said.