Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian praised the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) on Thursday, saying that it has caused a major rift within the country’s political leadership which will have “very important” implications for next month’s parliamentary elections.
“The ruling coalition, which was monolithic and wielded the whole power until recently, is today split. The Prosperous Armenia Party is seeking independence and has taken serious steps in that direction,” Ter-Petrosian said as he campaigned in the central Kotayk region, BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian’s stronghold.
The top leader of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) pointed to the BHK’s tacit support for opposition calls for a major electoral reform as well as its pledge to join forces with the country’s three main opposition groups in countering possible attempts to rig the May 6 vote.
“These are very important steps which show that the Prosperous Armenia Party has ceased to be an appendage to [President] Serzh Sarkisian and is seeking to become an independent political factor. And this will play a very important role in the formation of the next parliament,” Ter-Petrosian told a small crowd attending an HAK rally in the regional town of Yeghvard.
Ter-Petrosian has repeatedly reached out to the BHK since Tsarukian pointedly declined to reaffirm support for Sarkisian’s reelection plans last September. He stated in November that his opposition bloc’s cooperation with Tsarukian’s party “could radically change the configuration of political forces” ahead of the parliamentary elections.
Former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, a senior BHK member, said late last month that the ruling coalition comprising the BHK, Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) and the Orinats Yerkir Party has effectively ceased to exist.
However, Tsarukian seemed to disagree with that in an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) on Wednesday. The tycoon also did not rule out the possibility of entering into a new power-sharing deal with Sarkisian after the elections.
Addressing a larger crowd in the nearby town of Abovian later in the day, Ter-Petrosian made clear that the HAK will avoid any verbal attacks on the BHK as well as the rival opposition Zharangutyun and Dashnaktsutyun parties during the election campaign. The HAK’s main target will be Sarkisian’s HHK, he said, branding the ruling party as a band of “thieves and crooks.”