Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) leader Gagik Tsarukian on Monday again did not rule out the possibility of striking a new power-sharing deal with President Serzh Sarkisian after next month’s parliamentary elections.
“I don’t know what will happen after the elections,” Tsarukian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) when asked about the BHK’s readiness to enter into a new coalition government that might be formed by Sarkisian.
“It depends on the people’s choice and trust. Nobody can tell today what choice the people will make,” he said during an election campaign trip to Armenia’s southern Ararat province.
The BHK has four ministerial portfolios in the current coalition government dominated by members of Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK). Its relations with the HHK seem to have worsened in recent months because of Tsarukian’s apparent reluctance to pledge support for Sarkisian’s candidacy in next year’s presidential election.
Also, the BHK makes no secret of its desire to increase its representation in the National Assembly. Former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, whose name is second on the party’s list of election candidates, made this clear as he campaigned in Yerevan’s Malatia-Sebastia district on Sunday.
“Prosperous Armenia has made a very serious bid and wants to assume weighty responsibility in the National Assembly and the government,” Oskanian said. He did not say whether Tsarukian’s party is aiming for victory in the May 6 elections.
Tsarukian likewise remained reluctant to specify his and his political team’s electoral expectations. When asked how many parliament seats the BHK expects to win, he said, “Regardless of everything, the Prosperous Armenia led by Tsarukian will retain the people’s faith and trust. Regardless of how many votes we will get, I love and believe in the people.”
As was the case elsewhere in Armenia, Tsarukian attracted large and enthusiastic crowds in Ararat towns and villages. In what has been a pattern, the tycoon was mobbed by dozens of people asking for jobs and financial assistance.
Addressing a rally in the town of Ararat, the BHK leader again urged voters not to bow to pressure which he said is exerted on them by various officials. “Don’t succumb to anyone’s coercion,” he said. “They won’t be supporting your families or doing other things for you. They only think about themselves.”