Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) said on Wednesday that it continues to regard the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) as an opposition force despite statements to the contrary made by BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian.
Levon Zurabian, the HAK’s deputy chairman, also made clear that the opposition party will continue cooperating with the BHK in challenging the Armenian government.
Speaking to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am), Zurabian downplayed Tsarukian’s remark on Tuesday that the BHK “cannot be in opposition” despite being no longer part of the government. Zurabian argued that Tsarukian’s party did not support President Serzh Sarkisian’s disputed reelection or recognize its legitimacy and has backed HAK initiatives in the Armenian parliament.
“All these steps show that Prosperous Armenia is today behaving like an opposition force,” he said. “If they have trouble calling themselves an opposition after that, it’s a problem which they should comment on.”
“Perhaps there are political science nuances that are not quite well understood. But if I try to take an impartial look at this process, then I’m sorry, but calling the BHK anything but an opposition force is simply not possible,” added Zurabian.
Ter-Petrosian made similar arguments last year when he began advocating close cooperation between his opposition group and the BHK. This strategy was resented by many of his loyalists, who believe that Tsarukian has remained connected to the government even after pulling his party out of the ruling coalition in June 2012. They also point to the tycoon’s reputedly close ties to former President Robert Kocharian, the man who ordered a deadly crackdown on Ter-Petrosian’s opposition movement in 2008.
Meanwhile, Tsarukian’s statement was clarified by one of his close associates, Naira Zohrabian, on Wednesday. Zham.am quoted Zohrabian as saying that the BHK continues to have “deep disagreements” with policies pursued by the current government.