By Ruzanna KhachatrianArtashes Geghamian, a prominent politician who heads one of the two opposition groups elected to the Armenian parliament, ruled out on Tuesday his involvement in any power-sharing deals to be struck by the three biggest parties supporting President Robert Kocharian.
Geghamian told RFE/RL that his National Unity party has received no offers of ministerial posts in Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s cabinet.
Markarian’s Republican Party, the winner of the May 25 parliamentary elections, has been negotiating with two other major pro-Kocharian parties, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and Orinats Yerkir, on the possibility of forming a coalition government. Leaders of the three parties refused to divulge any details of the talks.
According to press reports, National Unity is also part of the horse trading and might even claim the post of parliament speaker. Those were flatly denied by Geghamian who insisted that his party is not seeking any leadership positions in the executive or legislative branches.
According to the official election results, National Unity won almost 9 percent of votes cast for political parties that earned it 9 seats in the new National Assembly. Unlike most other contenders, the party has not yet made any official statements about its assessment of the freedom and fairness of the elections. Geghamian’s ambiguous stance contrasts with the allegations of electoral fraud voiced by the rival opposition Artarutyun bloc.
Relations between the two opposition forces worsened dramatically during the election campaign, with Artarutyun leaders accusing Geghamian of secretly cooperating with Kocharian. Geghamian publicly rebutted the charges, linking Artarutyun to Armenia’s unpopular former president, Levon Ter-Petrosian.