The four main political parties challenging Armenia’s leadership said on Wednesday that they will continue their joint activities after the unexpected resignation of Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian and the upcoming formation of a new government.
Parliamentary leaders of the established and de facto opposition forces met again behind the closed doors to discuss their next steps stemming from the government change.
“The four-party cooperation is continuing contrary to all gloomy predictions,” Armen Rustamian of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) told reporters after the meeting. “We keep working productively. I think today’s meeting can be considered a productive one because results always come after long discussions, and I think this was one such discussion.”
Rustamian said that the four parliamentary factions will soon table draft legal amendments designed to block a controversial reform of the national pension system initiated by Sarkisian’s cabinet. He said they will stem from the Constitutional Court’s April 2 decision to declare the reform unconstitutional. The court acted on a joint appeal lodged by Dashnaktsutyun, the Armenian National Congress (HAK) and the Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and Zharangutyun (Heritage) parties.
Sarkisian’s April 3 resignation took the four parties off guard. They had agreed to seek a parliamentary vote of no confidence in his cabinet and hold street protests in support of the motion. It is not yet known whether the opposition minority in the National Assembly will unanimously vote against the incoming government of newly appointed Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian.
In a statement issued on Monday, the opposition HAK said that the four parties should now strive to topple President Serzh Sarkisian. Zharangutyun backed the appeal. “The quartet’s activities must be aimed at ensuring regime change and fresh elections,” the party’s deputy chairman, Armen Martirosian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) on Thursday.
The more cautious BHK and Dashnaktsutyun avoided clear responses to the HAK calls. Neither party officially stands for President Sarkisian’s removal from power yet. Dashnaktsutyun has said that it could join the new government if the president meets a number of conditions set by it. The BHK, for its part, has ruled out such possibility but has yet to decide whether it is ready to challenge Abrahamian’s cabinet on the street or the parliament floor.