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Sarkisian Discusses Armenian Elections With Coalition Partners


Armenia - President Serzh Sarkisian (C), Prosperous Armenia Party leader Gagik Tsarukian (L) and Oriants Yerkir Party leader Artur Baghdasarian sign a joint declaration in Yerevan, 17Fen2011.

Armenia - President Serzh Sarkisian (C), Prosperous Armenia Party leader Gagik Tsarukian (L) and Oriants Yerkir Party leader Artur Baghdasarian sign a joint declaration in Yerevan, 17Fen2011.

President Serzh Sarkisian and his junior partners in Armenia’s governing coalition have met to discuss the upcoming parliamentary elections amid lingering speculation about serious disagreements among them.

Sarkisian’s press office issued no statements on his meeting with Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) leader Gagik Tsarukian and Orinats Yerkir Party leader Artur Baghdasarian that took place late on Monday.

Tsarukian, whose relationship with Sarkisian appears to have been tenuous in recent months, also declined to comment. His spokesman, Khachik Galstian, claimed on Tuesday that he has no information about the late-night encounter.

“I can say that the coalition meeting took place in an atmosphere of mutual understanding,” Baghdasarian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am)

Baghdasarian, who is also the secretary of the presidential National Security Council, said they specifically discussed ways of coordinating “our positions and tactics” in the run-up to the May elections. “The political coalition has to ascertain its positions and formulate, during the forthcoming parliamentary elections, positions as that are as congruent as possible,” he said.

Eduard Sharmazanov, a deputy parliament speaker and the chief spokesman for Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), also said that the upcoming elections were high on agenda. He told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that such consultations will “intensify” ahead of the vote which the HHK plans to win by landslide.

Both Baghdasarian and Sharmazanov insisted that the three coalition leaders did not discuss the possibility of issuing another declaration on the legislative polls and next year’s presidential election. “We are now talking about the 2012 parliamentary elections,” said the Orinats Yerkir leader.

The three governing parties already issued a joint statement in February last year. It declared that they will not challenge each other during the parliamentary race and will campaign for Sarkisian’s reelection in 2013.

Tsarukian raised questions about the validity of that document last September when he pointedly declined to reaffirm support for Sarkisian’s reelection plans. His party reportedly came under strong pressure from the presidential administration and the HHK in the following months. In public, both parties deny a serious rift between them.

Sharmazanov would not clarify if the HHK will press for the signing of a new document that will explicitly commit the BHK and Orinats Yerkir to supporting Sarkisian in the 2013 election. “I can’t give an explicit answer to this question,” he said. “What I can say is that the coalition is now working productively under President Sarkisian’s leadership and is also grouped only around President Sarkisian.”
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