President Serzh Sarkisian appeared to have postponed on Thursday evening the announcement of his pick for the vacant post of prime minister after talks held with the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK).
The decision was widely expected to be announced after a meeting of the governing board of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). The HHK’s parliamentary leader, Galust Sahakian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) earlier in the day that parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian is the most likely candidate for the job.
However, HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov told reporters after the meeting that the new prime minister will be named on Monday. He refused to explain the apparent delay.
Sharmazanov also would not be drawn on the likelihood of Abrahamian’s appointment. “Until the party discussions are over I won’t divulge any details to you,” he said.
The HHK gathering followed Sarkisian’s consultations with BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian and two other two other senior members of the party, including former Foreign Minister Oskanian. Oskanian told Kentron television afterwards that the BHK still has no plans to return to Armenia’s governing coalition.
Tsarukian and Oskanian and the leaders of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) and Zharangutyun (Heritage) parties, including former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, met later in the day. A joint statement issued by the three parties said they discussed “issues relating to drawing up a common political agenda and a plan of actions in the new political situation created in the country.” It did not elaborate.
The three parties as well as the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) have closely cooperated in challenging the government in recent months. Dashnaktsutyun leaders were conspicuously absent from the meeting. One of them, Armen Rustamian, again did not exclude on Thursday Dashnaktsutyun’s return to the government.