Former Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian will join a newly formed opposition alliance to participate in Armenia’s upcoming parliamentary elections, one of its leaders, Vartan Oskanian, said on Friday.
“I can already confirm that he will definitely be involved [in the alliance,]” Oskanian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) in an interview.
Oskanian’s Hamakhmbum (Consolidation) party and two other opposition groups announced the creation of their bloc on Tuesday. They said they will jointly seek to form “a new type of government” as a result of the polls slated for April 2. The bloc is open to new members, they said in a statement.
The statement followed a fresh meeting between Oskanian and Ohanian. The latter said shortly before that meeting that he is continuing to hold consultations with various parties and individuals with the aim of setting up an election bloc.
Ohanian was dismissed as defense minister in October as part of a government reshuffle initiated by President Serzh Sarkisian. He said in December that he will “actively” participate in the parliamentary elections to try to bring about political and economic changes in Armenia.
Armenia -- Former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian gives an interview to RFE/RL's Armenian service, Yerevan, 20Jan2017
“My and Seyran Ohanian’s joint presence in the political arena should offer the people the kind of alternative which they want to see in the run-up to the elections,” said Oskanian. The current Armenian authorities have “exhausted themselves,” he said.
The Hamakhmbum leader, who served as foreign minister from 1998-2008, also admitted that Ohanian could top the list of the bloc’s election candidates. “I don’t exclude that,” he said. “It’s possible. But this issue has not been discussed yet.”
Oskanian’s bloc may also be joined by the Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, a more radical opposition force. The Zharangutyun leader, Raffi Hovannisian did not rule out such a possibility on Monday despite strong objections voiced by some senior members of his party.
The dissenters say Zharangutyun must not team up with Oskanian and Ohanian because both former ministers were involved in former President Robert 2008 deadly post-election crackdown on opposition protesters.