A key ally of opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian on Thursday publicly disagreed with his controversial strategy of cooperation with Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), dismissing its opposition credentials.
“If the BHK hasn’t declared that it’s in opposition, why are you asking me this question? I don’t understand,” Stepan Demirchian, the leader of the opposition People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK), told journalists.
Demirchian referred to Tsarukian’s remark that the BHK “cannot be in opposition” despite criticizing some government policies. Levon Zurabian, a deputy chairman of Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK), downplayed this statement on Wednesday, saying that Tsarukian’s party is “behaving like an opposition force” and remains a close HAK partner.
Demirchian, whose party was affiliated with the HAK when the latter was an alliance of opposition groups, voiced serious misgivings about such cooperation. “For example, there can be and, in effect, there is cooperation with the BHK in the National Assembly,” he said. “But we can talk about deeper cooperation only when the BHK becomes an opposition.”
Demirchian went on to question Ter-Petrosian’s strategy of trying to capitalize on the BHK’s friction with the government in challenging President Serzh Sarkisian. “We have said before that it’s wrong to condition [opposition] activities by disagreements among government forces that may exist at one point but be absent at another,” he said.
Demirchian further declared that his party is ready to cooperate with not only the recently restructured HAK but also opposition groups that used to support Ter-Petrosian and are now at loggerheads with him. Ter-Petrosian’s courtship of the BHK has been a key reason for the opposition discord.