Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian will likely run for president in an election due in February next year, a senior representative of his Zharangutyun (Heritage) party said on Friday.
“Of course, we have our undisputed candidate and it’s the leader of our party,” Zaruhi Postanjian told reporters. “I don’t think that we will not participate in the presidential elections with our candidate.”
Postanjian said Zharangutyun, which is one of at least three opposition groups represented in parliament, will be seeking a broad-based opposition support for its presidential candidate. “We also think that our candidate should be a common candidate of not only the entire opposition but the popular movement,” she said.
Hovannisian, who had served as Armenia’s fist foreign minister, himself has not ruled out a presidential bid. But he has not announced a decision to contest the 2013 vote either.
“We have our candidate but there is still no decision to nominate him because those [nomination] processes have not yet started,” explained Postanjian.
The presidential ballot will see President Serzh Sarkisian seek a second five-year term in office. It is still not clear who his main challenger will be. Some local observers expect the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the second largest parliamentary force that pulled out of Sarkisian’s coalition government last month, to field a presidential candidate.
The incumbent president could also be challenged by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, who was the main opposition candidate in the 2008 presidential election. A senior Ter-Petrosian aide said last week that the opposition leader’s decision depends on the existence of “favorable conditions.”
Ter-Petrosian’s 2008 bid to return to power was backed by Zharangutyun and Hovannisian personally. Relations between the two men and political forces led by them have seriously deteriorated since then.
Postanjian made clear that Zharangutyun will not endorse Ter-Petrosian should he decide to again run for president.