OPEN DISCUSSION BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

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[06:31 pm] 20 November, 2008

Serzh Sargsyan met with political party leaders at the Karen Demirchyan
sport/concert complex behind closed doors in order to avoid populism
and hold an open meeting. In the beginning of the four-hour long
meeting, Serzh Sargsyan congratulated the political party leaders on
the occasion of the victory of the chess players and informed that
the discussions with political parties on issues of social concern
will take place on a regular basis.

Almost all of the political parties were participating in the
meeting, except the radical opposition parties, that is, the parties
representing the Armenian National Congress. However, leader of the
Marxist Party David Hakobyan was present.

Artur Baghdasaryan and Armen Rustamyan represented the
coalition. Gagik Tsarukyan wasn't there because he is currently
out of the country. Among participants were the three national
democracy supporters Vazgen Manukyan, Shavarsh Kocharyan and Arshak
Sadoyan. Harutyun Arakelyan represented the Armenian Ramkavar
Liberal Party. Other participants included Paruyr Hayrikyan, Khosrov
Harutyunyan, Aram G. Sargsyan, Hayk Babukhanyan, Communists Ruben
Tovmasyan and Yuri Manukyan, as well as leader of the National Security
party Garnik Isagulyan and others.

The only women political figures were member of the "Heritage"
political party Anahit Bakhshyan and heads of two women's
organizations. Journalists couldn't recognize many of the faces. For
example, they didn't understand what party Ernest Soghomonyan
represented. The latter is a member of the "Prosperous Armenia"
party faction. He is also leader of the Hnchakyan party, but hasn't
represented himself as leader of that party for a long time.

>From the start, Serzh Sargsyan announced that political parties
shouldn't make references to the opinions expressed during the meeting
because what is discussed must stay confidential. Thus, ten minutes
after the start of the meeting journalists were asked to leave and
waited four hours for the political party members. When they came
out for breaks, they just told us where they stand on the Karabakh
conflict and not a word about the discussion. But we were able to find
out that all invited parties had only presented their stance and in
the end Serzh Sargsyan would touch upon the issues raised. We will
present the stances of the parties later.