The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) has not been weakened by former Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian’s decision to leave it along with his entourage, a senior HHK member insisted on Wednesday.
“I feel sad that after [enjoying] so much trust by the president of the republic and on the eve of so many projects to be implemented in our country Hovik Abrahamian chose such a course of action,” Hermine Naghdalian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “But that was his decision.”
“I’m not of the opinion that the Republican Party gets weaker or loses its influence when some members leave its ranks,” she said. “I don’t consider them traitors … I just think that they are people who were temporary followers of the party due to their personal interests or aspirations.”
Abrahamian quit the HHK last month more than four months after he was sacked as prime minister. He has still not given a clear reason the move.
Abrahamian was one of the HHK’s most influential members even before President Serzh Sarkisian appointed him as prime minister in 2014. He has managed the governing party’s parliamentary and presidential election campaigns for almost a decade.
The ex-premier and his extended family have long dominated the political and economic life in Armenia’s southern Ararat province. More than a dozen local HHK members close to him, including the provincial governor, have joined him in quitting the party headed by Sarkisian.
Naghdalian, who is also a deputy speaker of the Armenian parliament, insisted that the HHK will still make a strong showing in Ararat in the parliamentary elections scheduled for April 2. “We have a strong and big chapter in Ararat and it will keep working the way it has worked before,” she said.
Sarkisian launched a thinly veiled attack on Abrahamian at a January 26 meeting of the HHK’s governing body. Abrahamian hit back at the president the following day, provoking a stern rebuke from a party spokesman.