Gagik Tsarukian will be formally reinstated as leader of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the second largest parliamentary force founded by him, later this week almost one month after announcing his return to politics.
Naira Zohrabian, the BHK’s current chairperson, said on Tuesday that she will resign and be replaced by Tsarukian at a party congress that will take place on Friday.
“Let’s be honest, Gagik Tsarukian and the BHK were always inseparable, and it would be illogical if Gagik Tsarukian again did not lead the party,” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Tsarukian resigned as BHK chairman and quit politics altogether two years ago under strong government pressure provoked by his attempts to scuttle President Serzh Sarkisian’s controversial constitutional reform. The wealthy businessman announced his political comeback on January 17. He said he will stand in Armenia’s upcoming parliamentary elections at the head of a new electoral alliance.
The alliance is expected to comprise the BHK, a pro-Tsarukian movement called Miasnutyun (Unity) and at least two small parties. A Miasnutyun representative said last week that the bloc will be officially unveiled on February 5. However, the event was postponed for unclear reasons.
According to a spokesman for Tsarukian, Iveta Tonoyan, the BHK founder and his political allies will sign a memorandum on their alliance on Friday.
The tycoon has avoided publicly criticizing the government in recent months, stoking speculation that his comeback was part of a secret deal with Sarkisian. Both the BHK and the ruling Republican Party of Armenia have dismissed such claims.
“If we are not in government, it means we are in opposition,” Zohrabian insisted on Tuesday. She said Tsarukian’s party, which finished second in the last two parliamentary elections, will continue to position itself as an “alternative” to the country’s current leadership.