Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s Hamakhmbum (Consolidation) party is stepping up its efforts to form an alliance with other opposition forces for Armenia’s upcoming parliamentary elections.
“There is not much time left. I think that we will have a result soon in one way or another,” Stepan Markarian, a deputy chairman of the party, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) on Tuesday.
Markarian is one of three members of a “negotiating team” that was formed by Hamakhmbum’s governing board on Monday. A statement released by the board said the team will intensify “preliminary discussions” with other, unspecified groups and individuals opposed to Armenia’s government. It described as “satisfactory” the discussions held so far.
“Formation of alliances has always been a difficult process in Armenia, and not just because of partisan ambitions,” said Markarian. “Our task was to ascertain the limit of concessions that can be made by political forces.”
The process is now entering a “much more concrete phase,” added Markarian. He confirmed that Raffi Hovannisian’s Zharangutyun (Heritage) party and former Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian are among Hamakhmbum’s potential allies.
“We have a mutual understanding not to publicize anything until a final agreement with all forces is reached,” added Markarian.
Zharangutyun’s deputy chairman, Armen Martirosian, said, meanwhile, that his part is ready, in principle, to join forces with Oskanian, who served as foreign minister in former President Robert Kocharian’s administration from 1998-2008. Oskanian’s alleged role in Kocharian’s 2008 post-election crackdown on the opposition is not an insurmountable obstacle to such cooperation, he said.
Martirosian argued that opposition parties cannot unseat the current government on their own and must therefore enter into alliances.
Oskanian revealed last month that he met with Hovannisian, the Zharangutyun leader, as well as Ohanian shortly after the latter was sacked in October. He expressed hope that the former defense minister will team up with his party and other opposition groups.
Ohanian announced his decision to “actively” participate in the upcoming elections later in December. But he has yet to clarify which party or bloc he will join for that purpose.
Oskanian and his political associates set up Hamakhmbum in June after splitting from the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the second largest force in the current Armenian parliament.