YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — A general amnesty initiated by President Serge Sargisian is expected to lead to the release of all opposition prisoners which will further stabilize the political situation in Armenia, parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian said on Monday.
Abrahamian also made clear that the Armenian authorities do not intend to meet other opposition demands, chief among them being the conduct of snap national elections.
“The president’s step was taken at the right time and dedicated to the 20th anniversary of our independence,” he told journalists. “It will ease tension existing in our country.”
“The public must be glad that the president of the country is doing everything to ease tension in the country and start dialogue [with the opposition,]” he said.
Abrahamian referred to an amnesty bill that was drafted by the presidential administration and sent to the National Assembly on Friday. The parliament’s committee on legal affairs swiftly met to discuss it, reportedly proposing some changes in the text.
Sources said that the still unpublicized bill, if approved by lawmakers, will lead to the immediate release of some 400 prisoners. It is expected that they will comprise all six members of the main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) who were arrested following a disputed 2008 presidential election and are still in prison.