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Armenian Governing Parties Deny New Coalition Talks


Armenia -- Prosperous Armenia Party leader Gagik Tsarukian (L) and President Serzh Sarkisian sign a joint declaration pledging support for the latter's reelection bid, 17Feb2011.

Armenia -- Prosperous Armenia Party leader Gagik Tsarukian (L) and President Serzh Sarkisian sign a joint declaration pledging support for the latter's reelection bid, 17Feb2011.

The two main parties in Armenia’s outgoing governing coalition insisted on Monday that they have still held no official negotiations on the possibility of reaching a new power-sharing agreement.

President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) and businessman Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia (BHK) swept the vast majority of parliament seats in elections held on May 6. The HHK-affiliated Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian said last week that negotiations are now underway on the possible formation of a new coalition government.

However, the chief HHK spokesman, Eduard Sharmazanov, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that the ruling party, which won a comfortable majority in the National Assembly, has not yet decided whether it will continue to share power with other political forces. He said the HHK’s Executive Body headed by President Sarkisian will first discuss the matter at a meeting later this week.

Hmayak Hovannisian, a senior BHK figure, also insisted that Tsarukian’s party has received no formal coalition offer from the HHK. The issue is currently “not being discussed,” he said.

The BHK raised more questions about its continued presence in government on Friday when it joined two leading opposition forces in questioning the official election results that gave a landslide victory to the HHK. Former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, whose name was second on the BHK’s electoral slate, spoke out strongly against entering into a new coalition agreement.

Hovannisian similarly said that the BHK should remain part of the country’s political leadership only if the Republicans acknowledge that the official vote results “did not reflect the real popular mood” and that there is a “deficit of trust” in the presidential party.

“Without such an acknowledgement, going for a coalition format would simply mean enabling the Republican Party to hide its own responsibility and the real picture,” Hovannisian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).

Neither President Sarkisian nor Tsarukian have publicly commented on the issue so far.
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