The three political parties represented in Armenia’s government have not yet negotiated on the possibility of jointly contesting next May’s parliamentary elections, one of their leaders said on Tuesday.
A senior representative of President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) said on Friday that the HHK and its junior coalition partners, the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) and the Orinats Yerkir Party, are now looking for ways of “cooperating” in the polls. The remarks fueled renewed speculation that the formation of an electoral alliance by them is on the cards.
But Orinats Yerkir leader Artur Baghdasarian insisted that none of three parties has even proposed such an alliance. “Even if they do, I don’t think that now is the time to do that,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) in an interview.
Baghdasarian at the same time did not rule out the possibility of the HHK, the BHK and Orinats Yerkir contesting the elections with a joint list of candidates. “It is possible that there will be coalition discussions on various internal and foreign policy issues facing the country,” he said. “The same is true for the format of participating in the elections and rules for the election conduct.”
In a February statement signed by Sarkisian, Baghdasarian and BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian, the three parties pledged not to undercut each other in the May 2012 elections and to campaign for the incumbent president’s reelection in 2013.
Tsarukian appeared to have distanced himself from that statement in early October, pointedly declining to reaffirm support for Sarkisian’s reelection bid. His party’s relationship with Sarkisian and the HHK has reportedly deteriorated since then.
Baghdasarian claimed, however, that there is no serious discord between the HHK and the BHK. “I believe that today there are no insurmountable differences within the political coalition,” he said. “There is a businesslike atmosphere.”
Baghdasarian, who is also the secretary of the presidential National Security Council, sounded rather cautious about government pledges to make sure that the forthcoming elections are the most democratic in Armenia’s history.
“As a politician and statesman, I believe that we are on the brink of a serious test,” he said. “We must do everything to organize good elections.”
In that context, Baghdasarian criticized opposition leaders who claim that the Armenian authorities will not hesitate to rig the vote. “It is wrong to say right from the beginning that things will be bad,” he said. “We should expect a positive outcome.”