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Oskanian Also Leaves Key Opposition Party


Armenia - Vartan Oskanian speaks at a Prosperous Armenia Party campaign rally in Yerevan, 2May2013.

Armenia - Vartan Oskanian speaks at a Prosperous Armenia Party campaign rally in Yerevan, 2May2013.

Former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian on Thursday confirmed his decision to quit the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), pointing to its failure to achieve regime change in the country.

“Terminating my membership in the BHK, I am conscious of my share of responsibility for its failure,” he said in a written statement issued shortly after the resignation of the party’s founding leader, Gagik Tsarukian.

Oskanian condemned “the arbitrary and unconstitutional use of all government levers” against Tsarukian, which is thought to have driven the tycoon out of politics. He said the crackdown not only damaged Armenia’s international reputation but also dashed “the Armenian people’s hopes to expedite immediate radical changes in the country.”

Oskanian also congratulated the BHK’s new chairwoman, Naira Zohrabian, expressing hope that the party will “continue to fight against political monopoly in the country” under her leadership.

Zohrabian was the first to reveal Oskanian’s resignation on Wednesday. She said on Thursday that the Syrian-born former U.S. citizen, who served as Armenia’s top diplomat throughout former President Robert Kocharian’s 1998-2008 rule, will retain his parliament seat.

Oskanian has been one of the most bitter BHK critics of President Serzh Sarkisian ever since he joined Tsarukian’s party in early 2012, shortly before it pulled out of Armenia’s coalition government. He has been the target of frequent verbal attacks from Sarkisian’s political allies.

According to media reports, Sarkisian demanded Oskanian’s removal from the BHK leadership during a confidential January 17 meeting with Tsarukian. The meeting resulted in Tsarukian’s decision to stop challenging the government.

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