Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian voiced skepticism at the weekend about cautious anti-government actions favored by Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), saying that opposition forces should strive for “complete regime change” in the country.
The chairman of the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) specifically questioned a joint motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian’s cabinet championed by the BHK as he met with supporters in the southeastern Syunik province.
“If the issue of no confidence in the government is ever raised on the parliament floor, Zharangutyun will not vote against. We are in favor of it, but it’s a half measure,” Hovannisian told a meeting in the regional capital Kapan.
“Changing a prime minister, a minister or some bureaucrat would not make a difference, and we all know that our vice comes from the top,” he said, calling for a concerted opposition effort to topple President Serzh Sarkisian.
The remarks came the day after Tsarukian met with Hovannisian in Yerevan as part of his consultations with the three established opposition parties represented in the Armenian parliament. The talks reportedly focused on a plan of joint actions currently discussed by those parties and the BHK. They include the motion of censure cited by the Zharangutyun leader.
Unlike Zharangutyun and another opposition party, the Armenian National Congress (HAK), Tsarukian’s party has so far avoided calling for President Sarkisian’s resignation or even declaring itself an opposition force. The HAK has said it understands this caution, implying that the BHK could adopt a more radical anti-government stance later on.
Zharangutyun seems more skeptical. Its secretary general, Stepan Safarian, said on Monday that Zharangutyun and its supporters believe that forcing the prime minister and other cabinet members to step down would be a “partial solution” and should be followed by a joint push for “complete regime change.”