A former senior member of the Armenian National Congress (HAK) hit out at the opposition alliance on Monday, saying that it has helped President Serzh Sarkisian to ward off serious threats to his rule.
Davit Shahnazarian, who held key positions in the Armenian government in the early 1990s, again criticized HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian’s decision to cooperate last year with the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), a former member of the ruling coalition. He said that strategy left Ter-Petrosian’s bloc empty-handed and explains why it did not field or endorse any candidates in Armenia’s upcoming presidential election.
“In essence, neither the HAK nor HAK allies are taking part in these elections because their aim was to turn these elections into an internal struggle within the oligarchic system. But oligarchic factions have cut deals with each other,” Shahnazarian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). He predicted that the BHK will return to the government after the election.
Shahnazarian is one of several prominent HAK figures who terminated their membership in the bloc following the May 2012 parliamentary elections. They strongly objected to any strategic cooperation with the BHK, saying that it is controlled by former President Robert Kocharian and retains ties to the Sarkisian administration. Ter-Petrosian dismissed such claims as “demagogy.”
Shahnazarian charged that the HAK leadership is greatly responsible for a serious decline in opposition influence on political processes in the country. “Armenia’s political system today resembles a desert, and in essence there is no oasis that can give the society serious hope,” he said. “The society is deeply disappointed with the whole political system.”
The veteran oppositionist made a case for the formation of a new, “ideological opposition” that would be able to “at least restrain” the ruling regime. He insisted that Sarkisian has no intention to break up the country’s “oligarchic system.”
Shahnazarian also stated that he will vote for Hrant Bagratian, a dissident HAK figure running for president on his own, in the February 18 election. But he stressed that he will not lend “political support” to Bagratian or other opposition candidates because he believes that none of them can thwart Sarkisian’s reelection.