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Ruling Party Sees Election ‘Cooperation’ With Coalition Partners


Armenia -- President Serzh Sarkisian (C), Orinats Yerkir Party leader Artur Baghdasarian (R) and Prosperous Armenia Party leader Gagik Tsarukian sign a new coalition agreement, 17Feb2011.

Armenia -- President Serzh Sarkisian (C), Orinats Yerkir Party leader Artur Baghdasarian (R) and Prosperous Armenia Party leader Gagik Tsarukian sign a new coalition agreement, 17Feb2011.

A top representative of President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) said on Friday that it expects to work together with its two junior partners in the governing coalition during the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

Galust Sahakian said the HHK, the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) and the Orinats Yerkir Party are now looking for concrete ways of that cooperation.

“The political coalition is an alliance,” he told journalists. “We just need to determine the form of that strategy. So we are now cooperating and will be cooperating in the forthcoming elections.”

Vartan Bostanjian, a senior BHK parliamentarian, gave more weight to this announcement. “I can see that possibility,” he said.

The remarks came after weeks of reports of tensions between the HHK and the BHK stemming from the latter’s apparent reluctance to reaffirm support for Sarkisian’s reelection in 2013. BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian has reportedly been under strong pressure from the presidential administration.

Some Yerevan newspapers claimed this week that Tsarukian is now ready to not only endorse Sarkisian but also contest the May 2012 elections jointly with the HHK and Orinats Yerkir.

Sahakian, who leads the HHK’s parliamentary faction, and Heghine Bisharian, deputy chairwoman of Orinats Yerkir, did not rule out the possibility of the three governing parties fielding a joint list of candidates. Sahakian said the decision will be made “after January.”

In a joint declaration issued in February, the three parties already pledged not to undercut each other in the parliamentary elections.

A possible pre-election deal among them would preclude any cooperation between the BHK and the main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK). HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian suggested last month his bloc should consider joining forces with Tsarukian’s party if it leaves the government.

The BHK has still not commented on that statement which was made during Tsarukian’s absence from Armenia. Tsarukian’s spokesman, Khachik Galstian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) on Friday that the party received no formal offers from Ter-Petrosian and therefore only “took note” of what he said.

According to Galstian, Tsarukian said nothing when aides informed him about Ter-Petrosian’s statement on his return to Armenia.

Levon Zurabian, the HAK coordinator, called the BHK reaction “adequate.” He said the opposition bloc did not expect an answer from Tsarukian because Ter-Petrosian’s statement was a mere “political and scholarly analysis.”
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