The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) said on Monday that it has still not decided who will succeed Hovik Abrahamian as speaker of the Armenian parliament.
HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov stated this as Abrahamian reaffirmed, through the parliament’s press office, his decision to step down and formally ceased to head the National Assembly. One of his two deputies, fellow HHK member Samvel Nikoyan, took over as acting speaker.
Nikoyan was regarded until now as the strongest candidate for the vacant post. However, there was speculation on Monday that he will remain acting speaker until the current parliament ends its five-year tenure next May.
Sharmazanov did not deny or confirm that. “Until there is a discussion within the party I will refrain from any comment because I don’t find it correct at this point,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Abrahamian announced his decision on November 2, saying that that President Serzh Sarkisian offered him to resign as speaker and manage instead the HHK’s parliamentary election campaign. He dismissed media speculation that he was forced to quit because of being regarded as a backer of former President Robert Kocharian’s possible bid to return to power.
Sharmazanov said that the HHK’s campaign headquarters and offices across the country will not start functioning before the official start of campaigning for the legislative polls, meaning that Abrahamian will have no formal leadership role until April 2012.
The HHK spokesman insisted that this cannot lend more credence to the conspiracy theory about the speaker’s exit which is advanced by many media outlets.