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Armenian Ruling Party Wants Common Coalition Stance On Next President


Armenia -- The ruling Republican Party holds a congress in Yerevan.

Armenia -- The ruling Republican Party holds a congress in Yerevan.

The Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) has officially urged its junior partners in the governing coalition to already formulate a common position on the 2013 presidential election to be contested by its leader, President Serzh Sarkisian, it emerged on Wednesday.


Galust Sahakian, an HHK deputy chairman, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that this is a key element of a new cooperation framework proposed by the HHK to the Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and Orinats Yerkir parties. He said the three parties should reach agreement on the kind of relationship they want have after the presidential ballot and parliamentary elections due in May 2012.

“The questions is whether or not we are going to continue our joint work after the elections,” Sahakian said. “If we agree that our joint programs will have a continuation after the parliamentary elections, there arises the issue of presidential elections. That is, what positions the coalition parties could have then?”

Orinats Yerkir made clear last year that it will support Sarkisian in 2013. By contrast, the more influential BHK has so far been reluctant to pledge support for the president’s reelection bid.

BHK representatives have said the party led by businessman Gagik Tsarukian will decide whom to support in the presidential race after the legislative polls. A senior HHK member last week described this as the main reason for increasingly obvious friction between Armenia’s two largest governing parties.

Tensions between them might rise further after former President Robert Kocharian backed Tsarukian on Monday in a recent spat with the presidential party.

Armenia -- Galust Sahakian, a leading member of the ruling Republican Party, undated
Sahakian denied that the HHK initiative is aimed at stepping up the pressure on Tsarukian. “This is not coercion. This is only policy,” he said.

Sahakian also claimed that the Republicans are not concerned about the BHK’s possible behavior in 2013. “We have no concerns in that regard,” he said. “We just think that political forces that win most votes in Armenia must give answers together.”

Senior BHK lawmakers refused to comment on the HHK proposal, while a spokesman for Tsarukian, Khachik Galstian, said he is unaware of it.

According to Heghine Bisharian, a deputy chairwoman of Orinats Yerkir, the cooperation framework was put forward at a recent meeting of the coalition leadership. “There will be another coalition meeting in the next few days, and the public will be informed about its results,” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian service.

“The proposed document is important, and naturally Orinats Yerkir is in favor of that document,” said Bisharian. It is high time for the coalition parties to “clarify their further paths,” she added.
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