By Ruzanna Khachatrian
Deputy speaker Gagik Aslanian and three other members of the Armenian parliament on Monday ended their affiliation with the People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK) in a further wave of defections resulting from the ongoing infighting in the HZhK.
The parliamentarians decided to sever their links with the increasingly disaffected member of the current governing coalition after their failure to prevent the center-left party’s drift to the opposition. The move raises to seven the number of lawmakers that have quit the 20-strong HZhK faction in the National Assembly over the past week. The defectors included parliament speaker Armen Khachatrian.
The four men were among nine signatories of a statement last week demanding that HZhK chairman Stepan Demirchian and his allies stop “discrediting” those party leaders that stand for continued cooperation with the authorities.
Aslanian, who was last week expelled from the HZhK’s governing board over the revolt against Demirchian, until now headed the party’s branch in central Yerevan and has so far been reticent about whether he will set up a new organization on its basis. Speaker Khachatrian said last week that the rebel deputies will unite into a “new structure” to advance their political agenda.