Smbat Ayvazyan of the opposition Republic party has called for President Serzh Sargsyan to visit Yerevan’s Liberty Square for meeting Raffi Hovhannisian, his major rival in last month’s presidential election, who now holds a hunger-strike. Considering the former opposition candidate’s protest an extreme step, Ayvazyan said the current circumstances should urge Sargsyan to head to the protest site for “returning power to the people”. “I have said personally that it isn’t worth going [on a hunger-strike] as that is an extreme step. We still had steps which could have been taken, but the man has made his decision, and I respect it. I think, nonetheless, that Raffi Hovhannisian profoundly evaluates the existing situation in the country and finds it is necessary to take extreme steps,” he said, adding that he supports Hovhannisian notwithstanding his disapproval of that form of protest. Hovhannisian, who considers himself an absolute winner in the February 18 election, declared his hunger-strike after on Sunday, demanding Sargsyan’s withdrawal. He had earlier said that the re-elected president’s April 9 inauguration would be possible “only over my dead body”. Ayvazyan said the former candidate had initially chosen right tactics, by starting a tour to different regions. “He should have visited many places before appointing a date for a gathering in Liberty Square,” he told Tert.am. Asked what can be expected on April 9, the Republic party’s leader said there is still quite enough time until then to allow the authorities to thinks of possible steps. “Raffi has done his job; he went to the [presidential] residence to meet Serzh Sargsyan,” he said. “It is now for Serzh Sargsyan to set aside his complexes to head to the square to have a public meeting and discuss what to do next,” he added. Hovhannisian thinks the crowd in the square would have a normal reaction to Sargsyan’s public appearance. “I am sure nothing out of the ordinary will happen. There will be no unusual call when he comes for a meeting with people. I think he is obliged to do that, but it is up to him to decide whether or not to do so,” he added. Commenting on the authorities’ remarks that Hovhannisian is not properly evaluating the situation, Ayvazyan said, “It doesn’t matter how many people we now have here. What matters - and we are aware of it – what happened on the election day. The people went and rejected them; we know that, at least. Does it really matter how many people there are now?” he asked.