Armenia’s largest opposition group is waiting for the decision of its leader Levon Ter-Petrosian regarding his participation in next year’s presidential election to be able to determine its further strategies for the new political season.
“Everything depends on Ter-Petrosian’s decision,” Levon Zurabian, head of the Armenian National Congress’s (HAK) parliamentary faction, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) on Tuesday. He stressed, at the same time, that Ter-Petrosian is held as an “undisputable authority” in the HAK and is regarded as a candidate with “the greatest consolidating potential” to stand for president in next year’s vote.
“If he [Ter-Petrosian] steps forward to run for president – and for that, certain political conditions need to be ensured - everything will be clear for the Congress, as we will be building an allied platform around Ter-Petrosian… But if Ter-Petrosian decides not to participate in the race, it will create a new situation for the Congress, in which it will have to decide on its further tactics.”
Zurabian did not elaborate on what these political conditions are, only saying that the HAK leader will announce his decision immediately after he makes it.
The senior HAK representative also sounded dismissive of the idea of fielding a single opposition candidate just for the sake of it. He argued that a single candidate should first of all be a strong candidate capable of mounting some “real challenge to the current regime” rather than be a figure supported on the basis of a political compromise. Zurabian said he believed Ter-Petrosian could be such a strong single candidate.
At the same time, Zurabian dismissed as a “personal opinion” the statement made by Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) member Vartan Oskanian on Monday that his party led by millionaire businessman Gagik Tsarukian must contest the next presidential election with its own candidate and that he himself was willingness to take the responsibility of becoming the party’s nominee.
Asked whether the HAK would consider supporting Oskanian or BHK leader Tsarukian if either of them was to run for president, the leading member of the opposition alliance said: “I don’t think there is a need to comment on personal opinions, especially when the matter concerns expressed ambitions. The tactics of participation in presidential elections should be built on concrete political calculations rather than around wishes. This is our approach to participating in the presidential election. Other political forces and individuals are free to express their own opinions.”