Armenia Opposition Leader Joins Government

James Kilner

Feb 29 2008

YEREVAN, Feb 29 (Reuters) – An Armenian opposition leader agreed on
Friday to head the president’s security council, dealing a blow to
protesters hoping to secure his support in calling for a rerun of a
presidential election.

Thousands of demonstrators have been protesting for 10 days over
the Feb. 19 election of Prime Minister Serzh Sarksyan. They say the
election was rigged in his favour and hoped opposition leader Artur
Baghdasaryan would help fight for a rerun.

"I asked Baghdasaryan to head the security council," Sarksyan told a
news briefing. "It’s the third or fourth highest post in the country."

The Security Council is the president’s advisory body and its leader
is among the highest-ranking officials in the country.

Baghdasaryan told reporters: "I would like to thank the newly elected
president for the concrete offer made to me of such a responsible

His agreement with government is unlikely to halt the protests. The
opposition’s main leader is former president Levan Ter-Petrosyan,
who came second in the election with 21.5 percent. Baghdasaryan came
third with 17.7 percent.

Baghdasaryan had held negotiations with Ter-Petrosyan but they failed
to agree to team up against the election result, which Western monitors
described as flawed but broadly in line with Armenia’s international

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