Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) and two leading established opposition groups announced no concrete agreements on Friday following an unprecedented meeting of their top leaders.
Tsarukian, former President Levon Ter-Petrosian and Zharangutyun (Heritage) party leader Raffi Hovannisian as well as their top aides met late on Thursday to discuss their joint response to the surprise resignation of the Armenian government. A statement issued by their parties gave no details of the talks.
Ruben Hakobian, a senior Zharangutyun figure who took part in the meeting, described it as “very productive and constructive” but said the opposition leaders did not work out a new plan of joint actions. “We will hold more meetings soon and keep trying to form a common agenda,” Hakobian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Tsarukian met with his opposition allies just hours after holding consultations with President Serzh Sarkisian on the formation of a new government. Sarkisian’s office did not divulge any details. According to BHK representatives, Tsarukian made clear that his party is not interested in any ministerial posts.
Galust Sahakian, a deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), confirmed this on Friday. But he said the discussion was “constructive” and will likely lead to an agreement. He could not say just what Sarkisian and Tsarukian could agree on.
After the meeting with Tsarukian, Sarkisian postponed the appointment of a new prime minister until Monday. An HHK spokesman said that the president needs to hold more consultations with parliamentary minority forces, including not only the BHK but also the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun). Dashnaktsutyun leaders pointedly declined to attend Thursday’s opposition meeting, stoking speculation about their party’s impending return to the government.
Zharangutyun and Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) have refused to hold any talks with Sarkisian, saying that they do not consider him a legitimate president.
The HAK, the BHK, Dashnaktsutyun and Zharangutyun planned to propose a vote of no confidence in the government on April 28. They also agreed on April 1 to hold three-day rallies in Yerevan in support of that motion. Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian unexpectedly stepped down two days later, causing the cancellation of the joint opposition actions.