Alexander Arzumanian, a prominent politician affiliated with the Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh), has left the opposition party following its decision to join an electoral alliance formed by businessman Gagik Tsarukian.
The HHSh is one of several political groups that will join forces with Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) to participate in the April 2 parliamentary elections. Unlike the tycoon and his associates, it has had a pro-Western liberal ideology.
“My withdrawal from the party is not connected with its decision to join a particular bloc,” Arzumanian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) on Tuesday. “Frankly, I have long been considering abandoning partisan activity, and given that there has been no progress on an ideological basis I found it expedient not to participate in these discussions and negotiations.”
Arzumanian, who served as Armenia’s foreign minister from 1996-1998, could not say whether he might join another political group and run for parliament. “I see no such possibility right now,” he said, ruling out any election deals with the government or any of the newly formed electoral blocs.
The HHSh claims to be the legal successor to a same-name party that led Armenia to independence in 1991. It has been led by veteran politicians, including Arzumanian, who used to be close associates of former President Levon Ter-Petrosian. They fell out with Ter-Petrosian in 2010-2012.
Arzumanian played a major role in Ter-Petrosian’s failed bid to return to power as a result of a disputed presidential election held in February 2008. He was among prominent opposition figures arrested in the wake of the vote. Arzumanian spent more than a year in prison.