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Tsarukian’s Party Denies Discord With Opposition Ally


Armenia - Prosperous Armenia Party leader Gagik Tsarukian (L), Armenian National Congress leader Levon Ter-Petrosian (C) and Zharangutyun party's Raffi Hovannisian at a joint rally in Yerevan, 23Oct2014.

Armenia - Prosperous Armenia Party leader Gagik Tsarukian (L), Armenian National Congress leader Levon Ter-Petrosian (C) and Zharangutyun party's Raffi Hovannisian at a joint rally in Yerevan, 23Oct2014.

Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) said on Tuesday that it expects continued cooperation with one of its two main opposition allies, the Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, despite apparent differences between them.

Raffi Hovannisian, the Zharangutyun leader, said last week that Zharangutyun, the BHK and another major opposition party, the Armenian National Congress (HAK), still lack a common “full agenda” despite a series of anti-government rallies held in recent months. Hovannisian said the opposition trio should clarify its objectives if it is to make any further progress in its campaign for “regime change.” He also demanded that its further decisions be made “only by consensus.”

The warning, which seemed primarily addressed to the BHK, led to speculation about a major rift between Zharangutyun and its two allies challenging President Serzh Sarkisian.

Mikael Melkumian, a senior BHK lawmaker, denied such suggestions. “If their statements do not contradict the trio’s common positions … then there is nothing wrong with them,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “Raffi’s statements do not contradict the trio’s activities in any way.”

Melkumian said that Zharangutyun can raise any issue at regular meetings of senior representatives of the three parties.

Zharangutyun is represented at those meetings by its deputy chairman, Armen Martirosian, and parliamentary leader, Ruben Hakobian.None of them agreed on Tuesday to comment on the implications of Hovannisian’s latest statement.

Hovannisian specifically wants the trio to demand Sarkisian’s resignation and the holding of a snap presidential election. Tsarukian’s party, which controls the second largest parliamentary faction, has so far refrained from explicitly calling for Sarkisian’s ouster.

Zharangutyun plans to hold a separate rally in Yerevan on December 5. It will rally supporters in Gyumri and Vanadzor the following day.

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