A major opposition party aligned in Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) has given more weight to media reports about disagreements within the bloc over its list of candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections.
In a statement issued late on Thursday, the Hanrapetutyun (Republic) party said its chairman Aram Sarkisian will be the sole Hanrapetutyun member on the HAK’s electoral slate. The party known for its radical anti-government stance said it considers the May 6 elections as a “means for regime change,” rather than an opportunity to regain presence in the National Assembly.
The statement came amid continuing discussions among nearly two dozen opposition groups making up the HAK on the composition of the bloc’s slate. Some press reports this week said Sarkisian is the only Hanrapetutyun figure who would be high on the list of candidates proposed by Ter-Petrosian’s inner circle and thus stand a chance of becoming a parliament deputy. Hanrapetutyun activists were said to be unhappy with that.
“We have demonstrated to the public and the political class that we remain faithful to our principles,” Suren Abrahamian, a leading Hanrapetutyun member, said on Friday, commenting on the party statement. “Parliament mandates are not our priority.”
“The HAK comprises 18 political parties and non-governmental organizations as well as private individuals,” Abrahamian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “In order to alleviate the HAK’s difficulties, after long discussions we showed some very ambitious political forces and individuals that this is the way to go after all. Let the issue of getting mandates not be an end in itself.”
Abrahamian declined to name those forces. He also denied reports that Hanrapetutyun, which has strong branches in some Armenian regions, feels that it does not have sufficient presence on the HAK list.
Levon Zurabian, Ter-Petrosian’s closest associate who coordinates the HAK’s day-to-day activities, said Hanrapetutyun’s move is a “stance worthy of respect” and denied election-related differences within the HAK.
Ter-Petrosian, who had served as Armenia’s first president, will almost certainly head the list of his bloc’s election candidates. Other top spots on the list are expected to be occupied by Zurabian, Hanrapetutyun’s Sarkisian, the People’s Party of Armenia leader Stepan Demirchian, “Haykakan Zhamanak” newspaper editor Nikol Pashinian and former Deputy Prosecutor-General Gagik Jahangirian.