The Armenian National Congress (HAK) is unlikely to enter into any broad-based alliances ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections, a leading member of the opposition party headed by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian said on Monday.
Levon Zurabian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that the HAK will most probably team up only with Stepan Demirchian’s People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK) to participate in the April 2 vote. Ter-Petrosian and Demirchian will top the list of their bipartisan bloc’s election candidates, he said.
Demirchian has been allied to Ter-Petrosian ever since the latter returned to active politics in late 2007. A close associate of Demirchian said late last month that the HZhK might join an electoral alliance which is being formed by the influential businessman Gagik Tsarukian.
Zurabian made clear that the HAK has not even discussed with Tsarukian the possibility of joining that alliance.
Asked whether Ter-Petrosian’s party may join forces with other newly formed opposition blocs, he said: “February 16 is the deadline for political forces to apply for participation in the parliamentary elections. I consider myself a realist and think that decisions have already been made.”
Armenia - Opposition leaders Levon Ter-Petrosian (C) and and Stepan Demirchian (second from left) lead a demonstration in Yerevan, 1Mar2014.
Zurabian, who is the HAK’s deputy chairman, said that two months ago his party was approached by other opposition forces and agreed to negotiate with them on the possibility of forming a “big” electoral alliance. “But those negotiations never started because the other forces quickly set up some smaller alliances,” he added.
Those anti-government blocs, Zurabian went on, have yet to demonstrate that they are “really in opposition” and committed to regime change. Some of their leaders used to hold key positions in “the government engaged in abuses,” he noted.
One of the new blocs will bring together former Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian and four parties. One of those parties is led by Victor Dallakian, who resigned as a deputy chief of President Serzh Sarkisian’s staff in October last year. Ohanian was also sacked in October.
Three other opposition parties have set up late a bloc called Yelk (Way Out). Two of them, Hanrapetutyun and Civil Contract, are led by former Ter-Petrosian allies. Both men -- Aram Sarkisian and Nikol Pashinian -- fell out with the ex-president in 2012.
In an extensive December speech, Ter-Petrosian said a compromise solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be a key theme of his party’s election campaign. The 72-year-old opposition leader reaffirmed his view that peace with Azerbaijan is vital for Armenia’s security and prosperity.