The Armenian National Congress (HAK) is anxious to prevent President Serzh Sarkisian from forming an electoral alliance with his most important partner in the governing coalition, a prominent member of the opposition alliance said on Tuesday.
Former Prime Minister Hrant Bagratian said this is the main reason for HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian’s recent overtures to the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) of businessman Gagik Tsarukian.
Speaking at a November 25 rally in Yerevan, Ter-Petrosian stated that his bloc should consider joining forces with the BHK if it leaves the government. The two political forces could then jointly fight for the conduct of “truly fair and legal elections” in Armenia, he said.
The statement was quite remarkable given the fact that Ter-Petrosian and his entourage until now considered Tsarukian’s party an integral part of the ruling “kleptocratic regime.” Some senior HAK figures openly disagreed with it.
According to Bagratian, the HAK leader simply wants the BHK to quickly decide whether it will contest the May 2012 parliamentary elections single-handedly or in alliance with Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK).
“Ter-Petrosian’s speech was aimed at prodding Prosperous Armenia to pick one of these three options as soon as possible,” Bagratian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) in an interview.
“The HAK doesn’t dream about teaming up with the BHK,” he said. “That’s not an objective. The HAK objective now is to prevent the unification of the HHK and the BHK.
“Why? Because if they join forces, all the falsifications and financial resources will double or quadruple”
Alternatively, argued Bagratian, “If the three forces contest the elections separately, then the Republicans and Prosperous Armenia, despite being in government, will act against one another and have to share the pro-government electorate. That’s so obvious.”
A spokesman for Tsarukian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service earlier this month that the BHK received no formal offers from Ter-Petrosian and therefore only “took note” of what he said.
Tsarukian has reportedly faced strong pressure from the presidential administration and the HHK in recent weeks to reaffirm support for Sarkisian’s plans to win a second term in office in 2013.
Some media outlets have claimed this month that Tsarukian is set to bow to the pressure and form an election bloc with the HHK and Orinats Yerkir, the third party represented in the government. Representatives of the three governing parties say, however, that they have not negotiated on such possibility yet.