The government’s tense response to opposition forces, especially the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, last week, promoted the party’s Supreme Council of Armenia to issue a statement on Sunday, warning of “irreversible losses” in the country as a result of the leadership’s use of what it called “oppressive methods” to deal with the opposition.
The ARF Supreme Council of Armenia also convened a meeting of five opposition political parties at its headquarters to discuss the current situation in Armenia.
The opposition parties’ and ARF’s concerns are stemming from the spread of the coronavirus in Armenia at staggering rates, and the government’s failure in leading the country during the global pandemic crisis.
The war of words between the ARF and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan escalated late last week when the prime minister, addressing criticism from the ARF, threatened the 130-year-old party’s “political death.”
This comes as similar criticism by the parliamentary opposition has grown in Armenia, with Gagik Tsarukyan, the head of the second largest parliamentary faction, the Prosperous Armenia Party, demanded the government resignation last week.
On Sunday, Tsarukyan was questioned for hours on charges of alleged fraud and embezzlement, leading hundreds of his supporters to stage a demonstration in front of his residence. More than 200 protesters were arrested on Sunday and on Monday call for revoking his parliamentary immunity to stand prosecution were voiced by pro-government officials.
“The government is, once again, responding to the opposition’s political assessment with repressive methods,” said the ARF Supreme Council of Armenia statement on Sunday.
“Especially now, when the country is facing serious domestic and foreign threats resulting from the leadership’s selfish governance, one person’s blatant aspirations to establish an authoritarian regime is becoming evident,” added the statement.
“We, once again, demand from the leadership to return to the political arena. Or else, this approach undoubtedly will deepen the instability in the country and result in irreversible losses, the responsibility for which will lie on the shoulders of today’s government,” said the statement.
The ARF Supreme Council of Armenia chairman Ishkhan Saghatelyan said that a meeting of five opposition party leaders was convened in the ARF’s offices in Yerevan on Sunday.
Participating in the meeting were Arthur Grigoryan of the Prosperous Armenia Party, Armenia’s former NSS director Arthur Vanetsyan who is the leader of the Hairenik party, Arthur Ghazinyan, the chairman of the “One Armenia” party and Avedik Chalabyan, the deputy chairman of the “National Agenda” party.
The current situation in Armenia was discussed with Saghatelyan saying that there was “mutual understanding” among the participants, telling Azatutyun.am that they did not reach any agreements by will continue meeting.