A group of senior members of the Armenia organization of the Social Democratic Hnchakian Party (SDHK) openly revolted against its chairwoman, Lyudmila Sargsian, last week, accusing her of ignoring dissent and violating party statutes. They declared her leadership null and avoid, claiming that most SDHK chapters in the country have voted no confidence in Sargsian.
Armenia -- Dissident members of the opposition Social-Democratic Hnchakian Party hold a news conference on December 17, 2009.
The dissidents held what they called a party congress on Wednesday. One of them, Gevorg Perkuperkian, was elected as new party chairman. He insisted on Thursday that the SDHK board headed by Sargsian has been disbanded and can no longer represent what is the oldest Armenian political party.
Sargsian laughed off the claims, however. “No matter what they decide, I am still the chairperson,” she told a news conference.
Sargsian blamed the damaging split on Setrak Ajemian, the supreme leader of the SDHK structures in Armenia and major Armenian communities around the world. She alleged that Ajemian engineered the revolt as part of a secret deal with Armenia’s government aimed at bringing the party out of the HAK and eventually breaking up the opposition alliance led by Levon Ter-Petrosian.
Perkuperkian insisted, however, that his faction has no intention to quit the HAK. He also denied any collaboration with the authorities.
The HAK, meanwhile, issued a statement later on Thursday regretting the infighting and urging the party to restore its unity. In the meantime, the alliance said, it will continue to accept Sargsian as the legitimate leader of the once influential party that was set up in the Ottoman Empire more than a century ago.