By Hovannes Shoghikian
In a move underscoring his political ambitions, Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian presided at the weekend over the creation of an alliance of non-governmental organizations uniting prominent natives of various regions of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Hovsepian was elected “honorary chairman” of the grouping of about three dozen “compatriots’ unions,” including his influential Nig-Aparan organization. Its elected nominal leader, parliament deputy Vahram Baghdasarian, claimed that the new “congregation” will be “apolitical” and will have no ties with any political party.
However, Baghdasarian himself is a politician and a leading member of the recently formed Association for Armenia party, which is widely believed to be sponsored by Hovsepian. The latter was at pains to repeat that he has no far-reaching political ambitions and that the “congregation” will not cater for his interests.
“Do not try to drag me into politics with a donkey-like stubbornness,” said Hovsepian. “I will not engage in politics.”
Hovsepian’s assurances are dismissed by leading Armenian politicians and commentators. One of them, the governing Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), has repeatedly condemned his perceived involvement in political activities. The influential prosecutor is widely seen as a potential major contender in the next presidential election due in 2008.
Speaking at the congregation’s founding conference, Anahit Sargsian, a senior member of Nig-Aparan, made it clear that the consolidating “compatriots’ union” will not be “indifferent to [the question of] who will be the republic’s president and prime minister, parliament deputy or mayors of cities, towns and villages.”
Sargsian also took a swipe at Armenia’s mainstream governing and opposition parties, saying that they have all “have exhausted themselves” and “blinded themselves with their materialistic zeal.” “They are now discredited in the eyes of the people,” she charged.
The remarks were denounced by Hamlet Harutiunian of the Artsakh Union of Armenia-based natives of Karabakh, which also joined the grouping. “In general, nothing exhausts itself, especially political parties,” he told RFE/RL.
(Photolur photo: Aghvan Hovsepian.)