President Serzh Sarkisian has mustered broad-based political support for his efforts to turn Armenia into a parliamentary republic after the end of his final term in office in 2018, his Republican Party (HHK) claimed late on Thursday.
HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov said the leaders of virtually all parties that held consultations with Sarkisian on the constitutional reform this week now essentially support a switch to the parliamentary system of government.
“Some forces that were previously unfamiliar with the [president’s constitutional] package and the essence of the changes … are now actively participating in the second phase of discussions and even coming up with proposals,” Sharmazanov told reporters after a late-night meeting of the HHK’s governing board headed by Sarkisian.
Most participants of the latest consultations, notably the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), claim to be in opposition to the government. All of those parties except the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) were until recently against the radical change sought by Sarkisian. But they now seem ready to endorse his constitutional reform in return for some concessions.
Two other, more radical opposition parties, Zharangutyun and especially the Armenian National Congress (HAK), remain adamant in rejecting the constitutional reform, saying that it is aimed at enabling Sarkisian to stay in power after 2018. They both refused to join the consultations held in the presidential palace.
Sharmazanov questioned Zharangutyun’s and the HAK’s ability to mount serious resistance to the reform effort, saying that they can no longer be considered serious political forces. He was particularly dismissive about the HAK, which is led by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian.
“The HAK has long confined itself to the political sidelines,” claimed the ruling party spokesman.