By Astghik Bedevian
The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) may allot some government posts to other political groups but is unlikely to form a genuine coalition government, one of its leaders said on Thursday.
The HHK has shared power with President Robert Kocharian and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) for the past several years. Its top leader, Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian, said on Wednesday that he wants to make his new cabinet as broad-based as possible despite winning an absolute majority in Armenia’s newly elected parliament. But he stopped short of calling for the formation of another coalition.
Galust Sahakian, another senior Republican, argued that the HHK regards its landslide victory in Saturday’s parliamentary elections as a popular mandate to have a “monopoly” on power and does not want the kind of a power-sharing deal which it had cut with Dashnaktsutyun and the Orinats Yerkir Party following the previous legislative polls.
“A coalition document is not even being discussed,” Sahakian said. “Even if it is discussed, it will be nominal and will not mean an in-depth approach to coalition building.”
But he said the Republicans are ready to share some of their power even with those parties that failed to win any parliament seats. He did not deny that this applies to the pro-establishment United Labor Party and the opposition National Unity Party (AMK) that won less than 5 percent of the vote needed for entering the National Assembly under the proportional representation system.
“Of course, if political forces cooperate [with the HHK] they may get [government] levers within the framework of that cooperation,” Sahakian told reporters.
Observers note that unlike virtually all other opposition leaders, the AMK’s normally outspoken leader, Artashes Geghamian, has refrained from alleging vote rigging or criticizing the government so far.
(Photolur photo: Sarkisian, left, and other HHK leaders pictured during a campaign rally in Yerevan.)