The last senior government officials affiliated with the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) resigned from the executive on Friday, citing the BHK’s recent pullout from the country’s governing coalition.
The deputy ministers of agriculture, emergency situations and transport as well as vice-governors of Lori and Aragatsotn provinces announced their resignation and gave the reason for it a joint statement. Party sources said a BHK-affiliated deputy minister of sports and youth affairs will step down after returning from the Olympic Games in London.
The party led by businessman Gagik Tsarukian has controlled those posts, in addition to four ministerial portfolios, in accordance with a power-sharing deal with President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). Tsarukian decided to leave the coalition after the May 6 parliamentary elections in which his party finished second, according to official vote results. The four Armenian ministers representing the BHK resigned their posts shortly afterwards.
The five other BHK officials said in their statement that they did not quit the government together with the ministers in order to ensure the smooth work of their respective agencies. Naira Zohrabian, a senior BHK figure, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that their delayed resignations were found to be “more convenient” for the BHK.
Zohrabian denied media speculation that Tsarukian is keen to end his party’s remaining presence in the government to be completely free to challenge the ruling the HHK in nationwide local elections slated for this autumn. But she reaffirmed the BHK’s plans to contest the elections “very actively.”