Raffi Hovannisian, who officially finished second in last month’s presidential ballot and is now disputing the reelection of President Serzh Sargsyan, has gone on a hunger strike, calling on the incumbent to resign before April 9 – the official Inauguration Day.
Addressing supporters who gathered in Yerevan’s Liberty Square for another rally on Sunday, the opposition leader vowed to secure a victory for the people even at the cost of his life.
“If on April 9 he [Serzh Sargsyan] gives a pseudo-oath on the Constitution and the Holy Bible and the Supreme Patriarch blesses it and thus defiles the Bible, they will do it on my dead body,” stressed Hovannisian, who already conducted a 15-day hunger strike two years ago.
“This is not a hunger strike, but a boycott of lies and fraud,” stated the 53-year-old U.S.-born politician before starting his fast in the square.
“In any case you will be celebrating your victory and a new Armenia on April 9,” said Hovannisian, addressing hundreds of his supporters in the venue.
Sargsyan, who was certified as winner of the February 18 presidential election with his official tally of about 59 percent (as opposed to Hovannisian’s nearly 37 percent of the vote) received Hovannisian in his presidential office last month.
The opposition leader afterwards said, however, that all of his demands, including a repeat election, a runoff or snap elections of the National Assembly held under an all-party list system, had been rejected by the current head of state.
Hovannisian has since been holding rallies in the capital and provincial towns of Armenia, claiming that he has been robbed of an election victory and demanding that he be recognized as legitimate president.
He said the next big rally in Yerevan’s Liberty Square will be held next Friday.
Before that, on Monday, the Constitutional Court is due to start considering Hovannisian’s lawsuit demanding the annulment of the election results and recognition of his victory.