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Tsarukian Signals ‘No Retreat’ In Anti-Government Campaign


Armenia -- Gagik Tsarukian speaks at the three political forces' rally, Yerevan, 10Oct2014

Armenia -- Gagik Tsarukian speaks at the three political forces' rally, Yerevan, 10Oct2014

Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) leader Gagik Tsarukian has given another strong indication of his intention to seek a change of power in Armenia as he spoke about “no way back” in his latest interview published on Thursday.

“I have no way back, so we will go as far as it takes to change the situation,” Tsarukian told Zham.am.

In his first remarks after the October 24 rally of the BHK and its two more radical opposition allies, the Armenian National Congress and Heritage, Tsarukian again spoke about “change of government”, but, just like it was before, he did not set any deadlines to the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). Nor did he explicitly demand President Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation.

Armenia -- The trio of political forces holding a rally in Liberty Square, Yerevan, 10Oct2014

Armenia -- The trio of political forces holding a rally in Liberty Square, Yerevan, 10Oct2014

“The atmosphere has changed after October 24. I am sure the authorities saw the wave of discontent and, hopefully, realized that their old methods and steps will quickly lead them to an impasse,” said Tsarukian, expressing his conviction that “people want a government with new political faces and new political forces” and “therefore, the popular pressure should be stepped up.”

The BHK leader again accused the government of intending to make changes in the Constitution “purely for reproduction purposes” – “in other words to continue to govern with the same people and methods for another 10 years”.

“Elsewhere in the world in conditions of such failures and regression governments would have been changed rather than allowed to reproduce themselves,” said Tsarukian, referring to the constitutional reform initiated by President Serzh Sarkisian’s administration that implies a transition from the current semi-presidential to a parliamentary form of government. Opponents of the reform believe that the current leadership prepares legal underpinnings for Sarkisian to remain in power in some capacity after the expiration of his presidential term in 2018.

The BHK leader stressed that “there is no time to wait for long, no one believes in empty promises and assurances anymore, therefore, seeing tens of thousands of determined people, the government should draw conclusions”. In the meantime, the trio of parliamentary minority parties, said Tsarukian, will try to provide “structural and organizational solutions” to the movement. The matter, in particular, concerns the already announced formation of headquarters across Armenia.

“Only this way will it become possible to turn the current discontent into concrete drastic changes,” said the BHK leader, clarifying that “these offices will make it possible to organize, at the right moment, on the right day, simultaneous large rallies not only in Yerevan’s Liberty Square, but also in all major regional centers and large cities and towns.”

Tsarukian, who revealed his presidential ambitions earlier this month, promised to keep the protest centers throughout the country “hot” until “the people’s will becomes a reality.”

Apart from criticizing the current leadership for “political monopoly”, Tsarukian, who is one of the wealthiest businessmen in Armenia, is also critical of the government’s economic policies.

“No one should be able to use their position to seize a share of another individual’s business. There should be no monopolies,” Tsarukian said, stressing that despite the small size of the Armenian market, anyone should be allowed to engage in importing businesses to the extent that the market itself allows.

Tsarukian’s criticism appears to refer to media publications suggesting that President Sarkisian, in answering a question from one of the representatives of the Armenian community in the Czech Republic, said: “And what do you want? Do you want 10 people to be able to import sugar into a small country?”

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