President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) on Monday rejected as “unacceptable” his predecessor Robert Kocharian’s latest verbal attacks on the government.
“Kocharian’s interviews give the impression that we are dealing with analyses by a politician stuck in the past,” HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov said in a statement issued just hours after the former president again strongly criticized the government and Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian in particular.
“I have to note with regret that the interview-analyses by the second president contain unacceptable and, in some cases, offensive remarks. Those interviews are not timely and they offer no solutions or ways forward,” added Sharmazanov.
The HHK, which was in government during much of Kocharian’s decade-long rule, had reacted more cautiously to the ex-president’s previous statements criticizing the current authorities in Yerevan. Kocharian attacked HHK leaders in one of those statements.
President Sarkisian has not personally and directly commented on the criticism from his former longtime political partner so far.
Tigran Sarkisian refused to comment on Kocharian’s latest remarks when approached by RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) in Yerevan.
Meanwhile, Armenian opposition leaders critical of both the current and former presidents scoffed at the intensifying war of words between the government and Kocharian. One of them, Nikol Pashinian, mockingly suggested that Kocharian begin a sit-in protest against his “loyal banker” Tigran Sarkisian. The latter served as governor of the Armenian Central Bank throughout Kocharian’s 1998-2008 presidency.
Another prominent oppositionist, Ruben Hakobian of the Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, said that Kocharian should have openly lambasted Serzh Sarkisian. He argued that the president is by far the most powerful official in the country and bears greater responsibility for the economic situation than the prime minister.