Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) for the first time explicitly added its voice to opposition calls for President Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation on Monday as it continued to prepare for a major anti-government rally in Yerevan.
Naira Zohrabian, a senior BHK member and Tsarukian aide, announced a further toughening of the party’s stance at a rally held jointly with the Zharangutyun and Armenian National Congress (HAK) parties in the northern city of Vanadzor.
“The three forces standing on the podium may have differences on various issues but we are united on one issue: this government has led the country to ruin; this government has left the country in deadlock; and this government must go. This is our common political agenda which has brought together the three political forces,” Zohrabian told about 1,000 people that gathered in Vanadzor’s central square.
“Our problem is not a flawed constitution,” she said in reference to Sarkisian’s plans for constitutional reform. “Our problem is a flawed government that is thinking only about one thing: to continue its destructive policies for ten more years through constitutional changes.”
The BHK, which was part of Sarkisian’s governing coalition until May 2012, has been careful not to publicly demand regime change until now. Tsarukian and his associates have even refrained from calling themselves an opposition party while intensifying their criticism of government policies.
The BHK signaled its readiness for an open confrontation with the Sarkisian administration when it embarked on a campaign of nationwide rallies with the more radical HAK and Zharangutyun late last month. The three parties are scheduled to hold a joint rally in Yerevan’s Liberty Square on Friday. It is still not clear what they plan to do afterwards.
“Changes will definitely come about this time around,” Mikael Melkumian, another senior BHK figure, told the Vanadzor rally. “If the people have faith today, they will leave no stone unturned.”