The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) is still not convinced that influential businessman Gagik Tsarukian and his political team have decided to campaign for President Serzh Sarkisian’s ouster, a senior HHK member said on Wednesday.
Hovannes Sahakian, who chairs a key committee of the Armenian parliament, downplayed calls for “regime change” that are made by senior members of Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) during ongoing rallies organized jointly with two established opposition parties. He implied that only Tsarukian can express his party’s official position.
“If the top leaders [of the three parties] come out and demand [regime change] we will conclude that they are serious about those demands and will try to respond,” Sahakian told reporters.
Tsarukian as well as Levon Ter-Petrosian and Raffi Hovannisian, the leaders of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) and Zharangutyun party respectively, have not attended the anti-government protests staged by their parties so far. It is still not clear whether they will address a big rally in Yerevan slated for Friday. Their close associates have also been vague about their further joint actions that will follow that rally.
Tsarukian’s party, which is wealthier and more influential than its opposition allies, did not publicly call for regime change until this week. Its senior figures have significantly toughened their anti-government rhetoric since the start of the ongoing campaign two weeks ago.
According to Sahakian, the HHK remains confident that the opposition trio will not force the Armenian authorities to call snap parliamentary or presidential elections. “Rest assured that there are no problems,” he said. “We don’t smell pre-term elections as yet.”