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Prosperous Armenia Leader Opposes Return To Government


Armenia - President Serzh Sarkisian meets with Prosperous Armenia Party leaders Naira Zohrabian (L) and Stepan Markarian, Yerevan, 12Mar2015.

Armenia - President Serzh Sarkisian meets with Prosperous Armenia Party leaders Naira Zohrabian (L) and Stepan Markarian, Yerevan, 12Mar2015.

The chairwoman of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the second largest in parliament, said on Wednesday that it must not join a coalition government which President Serzh Sarkisian could form before next year’s parliamentary elections.

Naira Zohrabian revealed that the BHK leadership has discussed the possibility of a coalition deal with Sarkisian even though it has received no such offers from him. She said some senior BHK members backed the party’s return to the government.

“Within our party and parliamentary faction, there are people who think that that would be the best option,” Zohrabian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “I don’t agree with them.”

“I am categorically convinced that that would be absolutely wrong. I do not believe in the effectiveness of one-year coalitions,” she said, arguing that Armenia is due to hold parliamentary elections in May 2017.

Zohrabian declined to clarify whether most members of the BHK’s governing board share her view on the issue. “There have been no coalition offers,” she said. “I hope that the coalition theme is not on the BHK agenda anymore.”

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), another party previously represented in the government, received such an offer last month and essentially accepted it. Dashnaktsutyun is widely expected to get at least two ministerial posts in the coming weeks.

The BHK withdrew from the government in 2012 amid growing tensions between its founding leader Gagik Tsarukian and Sarkisian. Those tensions escalated into a bitter standoff a year ago, with Tsarukian eventually resigning as BHK leader and quitting politics altogether under strong government pressure.

The BHK, which controls 33 seats in Armenia’s 131-member parliament, has been largely loyal to Sarkisian since then, despite claiming to be in opposition. Like Dashnaktsutyun, it endorsed his controversial constitutional amendments that were put on a referendum in December.

Dashnaktsutyun holds only 5 parliament seats.

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