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Election Runner-Up Won’t Rule Out New Coalition Deal


Armenia - Prosperous Armenia Party leader Gagik Tsarukian is greeted by supporters during an campaign rally in Vanadzor, 1May2012.

Armenia - Prosperous Armenia Party leader Gagik Tsarukian is greeted by supporters during an campaign rally in Vanadzor, 1May2012.

The Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the official runner-up in this month’s parliamentary elections, on Wednesday did not rule out the possibility of reaching a new power-sharing agreement with President Serzh Sarkisian.

Naira Zohrabian, a senior associate of BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian, issued a written statement amid continuing uncertainty surrounding the party’s political future. “I want to once again emphasize that no coalition can be an end in itself for us,” she said.

“Having or not having several more or less ministers does not matter to the BHK. Our objective is more global: the formation of a government, whether a coalition one or not, that would swiftly meet serious challenges facing the country, improve the socioeconomic plight of the people and change the business environment and economic atmosphere in the country,” read the statement.

Zohrabian added vaguely that the BHK will take no steps that would “undermine the people’s faith and trust towards us.” She did not elaborate.

The BHK has four ministerial portfolios in Armenia’s outgoing governing coalition dominated by Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK). According to official results of the May 6 elections, it won 30 percent of the vote and will have 36 deputies in the 131-member National Assembly, compared with 69 parliament seats won by the HHK.

The BHK questioned the legitimacy of the official vote tally in a joint statement with two leading opposition forces last Friday. The statement alleged widespread multiple voting in the HHK’s favor and other irregularities.

Tsarukian has still not commented on the election conduct and his party’s post-election plans. According to Hmayak Hovannisian, a senior BHK election candidate, the tycoon is keen to hear his loyalists’ opinions before deciding whether to remain part of the Sarkisian government.

Hovannisian also argued that Sarkisian himself has not yet clarified whether he would like to form a new coalition government with the BHK. “The ball, as they would say, is in Serzh Sarkisian’s court,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “Serzh Sarkisian intends to participate in the presidential elections several months later and needs to do that successfully. Since the ball is in his court, he needs to present his approaches on these issues to the public.”

HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov said on Monday that the ruling party has not yet decided whether to continue sharing power with other political forces.
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