Former President Robert Kocharian insisted through a spokesman on Friday that he is not behind a new opposition party set up by former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian and has still not decided whether to return to active politics.
“Cooperation with any party would have to be preceded by Robert Kocharian’s decision to get involved in active political process, which hasn’t happened to date,” his press secretary, Victor Soghomonian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
“One should wait for such a statement and only then see what possibilities of cooperation exist or what forms that involvement in active political processes takes,” Soghomonian said. “So let’s wait and see.”
Kocharian, who served as Armenia’s president from 1998-2008, has increasingly criticized his successor Serzh Sarkisian’s policies and track record in recent years, fueling talk of his impending return to the political arena. Observers speculated until last year that he is plotting a comeback through the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) of Gagik Tsarukian, a wealthy businessman close to Kocharian.
Tsarukian decided to resign as BHK leader and retire from politics under strong government pressure in February 2015. Several senior BHK figures, notably Oskanian, officially or unofficially severed their links with the party in the following months. They are regarded by some commentators as Kocharian supporters.
Hence, intense media speculation linking the ex-president with the Hamakhmbum (Consolidation) party which was formed by Oskanian and his political allies last month.Echoing statements by Oskanian, Soghomonian insisted that Kocharian is not connected with the party in any way.
Earlier this week, Kocharian visited Nagorno-Karabakh and met with its leadership to discuss the fallout from the April 2-5 hostilities between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces. He also reportedly visited several sections of the Karabakh “line of contact.” His office made no statements on the trip.
Born and raised in Karabakh, Kocharian governed the Armenian-populated region from 1992-1997.