The Armenian National Congress (HAK) is collaborating with a key member of the country’s governing coalition in the hope of thwarting President Serzh Sarkisian’s plans to retain control over parliament, a senior member of the opposition alliance said on Wednesday.
“We have never regarded the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) as opposition because the real opposition is those who have fought on the street and presented the regime’s true face for the past five years,” Lyudmila Sargsian told a news conference. “It is our rival just like the [opposition] Dashnaktsutyun and Zharangutyun parties are, just like all other political forces.”
“But in this case our interests converge and we are glad that we can now cooperate and prevent the [ruling] HHK from having a [parliamentary] majority,” she said.
Sargsian referred to the establishment by the HAK, the BHK and Dashnaktsutyun of a joint structure tasked with countering possible attempts to rig Sunday’s parliamentary elections. Representatives of all three political forces have stressed that their cooperation primarily centers on the proper conduct of the vote. Still, a Dashnaktsutyun leader, Armen Rustamian, stated recently that they are ultimately interested in changing the current Armenian government.
The creation of the Inter-Party Center for Public Oversight of the Elections was again criticized on Wednesday by President Sarkisian’s HHK. The party’s deputy chairman, Galust Sahakian, dismissed the unprecedented multi-partisan initiative as an “imitation” of the fight for free and fair elections.
“It’s a kind of intrigue because there is a similar [HHK-dominated] commission in the National Assembly comprising [representatives of] international structures,” Sahakian told reporters.
He also denied opposition allegations that schoolteachers and other public-sector employees are forced to attend HHK campaign rallies across Armenia. Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe gave weight to those claims in an interim report issued last week.
“This is a view of our opponents that may be beneficial for one or another observer,” Sahakian of the report. “Today you can’t force anyone to go to a rally.”