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Ex-Armenian President Kocharyan holds rally in Yerevan ahead of elections

Robert Kocharyan, the former president of Armenia, addresses the public during the May 9 rally at Liberty Square.

Former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan has rallied thousands of his supporters in Yerevan's central Freedom Square to gather support for his new political alliance ahead of early elections next month. 

The alliance, called “Reviving Armenia”, will run in the upcoming parliamentary elections set to take place on June 20.

In a speech to several thousands of his supporters on Sunday, Kocharyan promised his coalition would help the economy revive and ethnic Armenians recover from the loss of swathes of land in and around the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region following a six-week military conflict with Azerbaijan late last year.

“Our struggle is for Armenia’s present and future. We guarantee freedom, justice, and solidarity,” said Ishkhan Saghatelyan of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Party (Dashnaktsutyun), a co-founder of the Armenia bloc, during the Sunday rally.

Kocharyan, Saghatelyan, and Vaghe Akopian, the leader of the Reviving Armenia faction, signed a memorandum establishing the Armenia bloc to run in the snap parliamentary elections.

They wrote in the joint statement on Sunday that the coalition aims “to overcome the disastrous consequences of the 44-day war in 2020, and the need to overcome new threats for our statehood.”

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan resigned last month to pave the way for a snap parliamentary election and defuse a political crisis that was triggered by the war with Azerbaijan. He had been under mounting pressure to resign over what his critics described as his mishandling of the conflict.

Pashinyan said he had been compelled to agree to the Russian-brokered ceasefire to prevent greater human and territorial losses. 

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but has been populated by ethnic Armenians. Under the Russia-brokered deal, Pashinyan agreed to cede swathes of territory in and around Nagorno-Karabakh to end the fighting.

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