Prime Minsiter Karen Karapetian may or may not join the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), but will remain a key representative of its political team, according to party spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov.
Speculation about Karapetian’s possible membership in the HHK first began soon after the former Gazprom executive was appointed head of the Armenian government in September. He and some members of the new cabinet, who are widely viewed as technocrats, have pledged to remain committed to the implementation of the programs of the majority party and its leader, President Serzh Sarkisian. The talk about Karapetian’s possible HHK membership has gained momentum lately as the ruling party is preparing for its convention later this month.
“At this moment the respected Mr. prime minister has not yet submitted an application for membership,” Sharmazanov told media following a regular sitting of the HHK executive body late on Thursday.
“But I said once and now repeat: don’t be surprised if Mr. prime minister submits such an application and don’t be surprised if he doesn’t. Mr. prime minister is a key representative of our political team, and the head of this team is Mr. president,” the party spokesperson added.
In the past Armenia had both partisan and technocratic prime ministers. Tigran Sargsian, a former Central Bank governor, for example, became prime minister in 2008 without any party affiliation. But he and a number of key ministers of his cabinet joined the HHK the following year.
Referring to the future plans of the HHK, Sharmazanov stressed that they never adjust their programs to any individuals, no matter how respected these individuals are.
“Moreover, after the constitutional reform it is a reality in Armenia that the role of political parties will sharply increase, and, naturally, our program changes in a certain sense will be connected with the new challenges, this new role that political parties will have,” he said.
“Now we embark on the path of strong political parties rather than strong individuals, and, naturally, even Armenia’s pivotal political force needs to be reformed, needs to review its program. We are changing our program not radically. As a conservative party that espouses timeless rather than old values, we add new strokes to the timeless, intransient basis that will help us work more efficiently.”
Sharmazanov said that in the future the HHK will remain a national conservative party and the teachings of Garegin Nzhdeh, an early 20th-century statesman and military strategist, will continue to have their own place in the party’s program and ideology. “Simply, new provisions relating to human rights, national ideology, Christian-democratic values will be added. This is still under discussion,” he said.
The HHK plans to hold its convention on November 26. Armenia’s next parliamentary elections are due to be held in April.