President Serzh Sarkisian maintains his hold on power and remains in full control of political processes in Armenia after the resignation of his government, the ruling Republican Party (HHK) insisted on Thursday.
“The latest initiatives of the Republican Party led by the president mean a complete restart of the political life. This is further proof of the fact that the joystick of the political life remains in the HHK’s hands,” said Armen Ashotian, the acting education minister and an HHK deputy chairman.
Speaking at a news conference, Ashotian declined to specify those initiatives. He said journalists can easily see them.
The remarks appeared to be a response to suggestions that Sarkisian is facing the most serious threat to his six-year rule emanating from Armenia’s four main opposition parties. Their top representatives claim that the president forced Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian and his entire cabinet to resign early this month to forestall joint anti-government rallies planned by them.
Opposition figures have drawn similar conclusions from the pro-presidential Orinats Yerkir Party’s decision on Wednesday not to join the new government that will be formed by President Sarkisian by the end of April. Some of them say that Orinats Yerkir will now pretend to be in opposition to the head of state in order to weaken his real political opponents.
Ashotian dismissed such claims. He called Orinats Yerkir’s decision a “civilized divorce” from the HHK.
Hovannes Sahakian, a senior HHK lawmaker, said that the ruling party is not desperate to share power with Orinats Yerkir or any of the four parties challenging Sarkisian. He said those parties are reluctant to enter into coalition deals now because they do not want to shoulder responsibility for government policies.
“We have a majority [in the parliament] formed as a result of elections and can form the government on our own,” Sahakian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “We could have done that before.”