By Ruzanna Khachatrian
The speaker of Armenia’s outgoing parliament, Armen Khachatrian, signaled on Tuesday his retirement from active politics, saying that he will not run in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Speaking at a news conference, Khachatrian said he is “tired” of his current job and will continue his political activities in unspecified “other areas.” “I will remain a servant of the state,” he said, refusing to disclose his immediate plans.
Khachatrian was elected to his current post in November 1999 shortly after the assassination of the previous speaker, Karen Demirchian, and seven other officials in a terrorist attack on the National Assembly. He was a senior member of Demirchian’s People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK) until 2001 when he fell out with the late speaker’s son and political successor, Stepan Demirchian.
Khachatrian and a group of other HZhK lawmakers, repeatedly branded as “traitors” by Demirchian Jr., quit the opposition party in protest against its increasingly tough stance against President Robert Kocharian. However, he did not join a new pro-Kocharian political organization formed by the defectors. The reasons for that are still unclear.
The speaker’s decision not to contest the May 25 elections exposed an apparent lack of confidence in his electoral chances. His grandiose speeches and statements have often been short on specifics and do not seem to have earned him much popularity in the last three years.