Armenia’s former foreign minister Vartan Oskanian has downplayed the role of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) in the country’s political decision-making in the past four years, arguing that its being part of the ruling coalition has been more of a formality.
Oskanian, who joined the BHK in February and is now second on its lists of candidates running for parliament in the May elections, suggested on Friday that despite the presence in Armenia of a formal ruling coalition of several political parties since 2007, the Republican Party has, in fact, governed the country single-handedly, considering the majority it enjoys in the current National Assembly.
“The Prosperous Armenia Party is still regarded as a member of the coalition, but let’s be frank – this coalition has been a formal coalition, because the ruling party has enjoyed an absolute majority, and, in fact, during these four or five years it has done whatever it wanted, never feeling the need for the votes of its partners in parliament,” Oskanian said in an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am).
Oskanian, who served as Armenia’s foreign minster under the previous presidential administration in 1998-2008 and then until recently headed a local think tank, often criticizing the government for its domestic and foreign policies, would not be drawn on why the BHK then did not quit the coalition and become an opposition.
He implied, however, that with its strong performance in the May parliamentary elections the BHK might actually force the emergence of ‘true coalitions’ in Armenia.
“We are already a mature state and have ambitions of a higher European integration. So I believe we should be treating such matters more seriously. The alignment of political forces in Armenia today is such that the next parliament, if elected in a free and fair process, will have a new quality and genuine checks and balances,” Oskanian underscored.