Sargisian Signals Dialogue with Hovannisian

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YEREVAN (RFE/RL and ArmeniaNow) — President Serge Sargisian has signaled his readiness for dialogue with his hunger-striking election challenger, Raffi Hovannisian.

The presidential press service made public a letter from Sargisian to Hovannisian on March 25.

He urged Hovannisian to stop his two-week-long hunger strike and engage in talks.

Sargisian’s message was in response to a letter from Hovannisian on March 22.

The earlier letter had offered recognition of Sargisian’s victory in the February 18 presidential poll in exchange for a promise that parliamentary elections would be held by the end of the year.

Hovannisian had also demanded electoral reforms and the right to select officials for several key government positions.

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Hovannisian had said he was ready to meet with him in Yerevan’s Liberty Square or learn about further proposals from another letter.

Sargisian, in his reply to Hovannisian, described the latter’s proposals concerning the holding of snap parliamentary elections and other serious government concessions as contradicting the “constitutional regulations,” but still said they could become a basis for launching an “effective dialogue.”

Hovannisian himself has not yet commented on the latest proposals from Sargisian. He told supporters that he was going to replay at another press conference in Liberty Square on Wednesday, March 27, after press time