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Armenian Ruling Party Sees Possibility Of Cooperation With Embattled Ex-Ally


Armenia - Hovannes Sahakian, a leading member of the ruling Republican Party, at Azatutyun TV's Yerevan studio, 14Jan,2014

Armenia - Hovannes Sahakian, a leading member of the ruling Republican Party, at Azatutyun TV's Yerevan studio, 14Jan,2014

The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) does not exclude the possibility of cooperating with its former coalition partner, Prosperous Armenia (BHK), on certain issues despite their recent confrontation that appears to have been resolved now.

President Serzh Sarkisian, the leader of the HHK, and his top opposition critic, BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian, fell out over the need for a constitutional reform earlier this month, with their conflict aggravated by an exchange of personal accusations at different levels.

Sarkisian, apparently infuriated by Tsarukian’s “ultimatum” to give up the constitutional reform process or face large-scale street protests, lashed out at him at a meeting of senior HHK members on February 12. In a speech full of derogatory descriptions of Tsarukian, including his infamous “Dodi Gago” nickname, Sarkisian described the man as “evil” for the country and effectively ordered his expulsion from Armenia’s politics.

Dozens of Tsarukian loyalists were detained and their businesses were inspected in the following days in what the BHK and its opposition allies said amounted to political repressions. Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian also ordered his government to probe allegations that Tsarukian, who owns businesses in Armenia, owes large sums to the state budget in back taxes.

Tsarukian struck a conciliatory note in a statement released on Wednesday after a reported meeting with Sarkisian that apparently focused on ways of resolving their conflict.

As Tsarukian called for “political means” of settling disputes, his party called off a rally that it planned to hold in Yerevan together with other opposition forces later this week to demand Sarkisian’s resignation.

This was taken by many observers as a concession on the part of Tsarukian, who was already stripped of a number of state posts during the crackdown.

The HHK does not rule out anything in politics, including that areas for cooperation with the BHK will be found, senior HHK lawmaker Hovannes Sahakian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun) on Wednesday.

“Our political team has always said and says now that with all political parties, politicians that will share our ideas about the main directions and programs we will be willing to discuss also their ideas, and there can also be some cooperation,” Sahakian said.

The HHK member, however, insisted that clearing Armenian politics of “pseudo-political” elements is an ongoing process.

“When we talk about such phenomena, I don’t think they have time limits or imply just one step,” he said.

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