By Armen Zakarian
The governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) appointed veteran member Galust Sahakian as the leader of its parliamentary faction this week despite objections voiced by President Robert Kocharian, it was claimed on Saturday.
Sources close to the HHK told RFE/RL that Kocharian’s office suggested that other Republican deputies head the largest and most influential faction of the recently elected Armenian parliament. They said most of the 39 Republican lawmakers insisted on Sahakian’s candidacy and elected him as their leader on Thursday.
But Sahakian, who also headed the HHK faction in the previous National Assembly, denied any differences with the presidential administration. “This is a conclusion made only by some analysts,” he said.
The HHK sources claimed that the presidential administration objected to Sahakian because he had strongly opposed the election of Orinats Yerkir Party leader Artur Baghdasarian as speaker, as part of Kocharian’s power-sharing deal with three pro-presidential parties. Many Republicans believed that the post should be given to them because they were the winners of the May 25 parliamentary elections. But they eventually bowed to pressure from Kocharian, ensuring Baghdasarian’s election.
Some Republicans remain dissatisfied with the agreement to form a coalition government, signed by the HHK, Orinats Yerkir and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun). They are particularly unhappy with the fact that their party got roughly as many posts in the parliament leadership as Dashnaktsutyun.
The latter has the fifth largest faction there with only 11 deputies, against the 39 parliament seats held by the HHK.