Sunday, 4 May 2008
Opposition congress: 'Ready for a dialogue'
Effectively, leader of opposition movement, Armenia’s first president Levon Ter-Petrosyan expressed his readiness for a dialogue based on PACE recommendations: “While not accepting the legitimacy of a regime that seized power with such crude methods, we are ready to take into account the fact of its being a real political factor and to start political dialogue with it,” he said. “But we regard that dialogue not as a means for bringing one of the parties down on its knees but as an opportunity to implement real reforms in the country and to create a normal field for political activity.”
I do not think that Ter-Petrosyan should have directly stated that he accepts PACE call to opposition to recognise the Constitutional Court’s decision which approved the election results (“This should not be interpreted as the obligation to agree with the merits of the court’s decision.”). Fraud in elections was the main reason which sparked the protests, and ‘acceptance’ of its results for practical reasons to move forward cannot be considered as a precondition (and never presented as such by PACE) but rather a part of a final outcome of negotiations (with a package of measures aimed at democratisation of Armenian society). However, freedom to prisoners who were detained for political motives is essential to create a basis for a negotiated solution out of current political crisis in Armenia. This should not be a subject of formal negotiation process per se, but rather a necessary precondition, I would say the only precondition to put before the government.
How serious is Armenian government in terms of making necessary reforms and changes in accordance with the PACE recommendations, and engaging in a dialogue with the opposition, will be known on 10 May when a committee created by a decree of Serj Sargsyan will present its action plan.