By Ruzanna Stepanian
Victor Dallakian, a prominent parliamentarian, implicitly dismissed on Wednesday mounting speculation that he will not be admitted to an ambitious party led by Armenia’s top government-connected “oligarch” despite his recent defection from the opposition Artarutyun alliance.
Dallakian announced his shock exit from Artarutyun two months ago in a move which was widely expected to earn him a senior position in Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia party. He is thought to be the main author of its manifesto that was published last sp ring.
Sources close to the party for months insisted that Dallakian will be one of Prosperous Armenia’s top candidates in next year’s parliamentary elections in which Tsarukian plans to do well. However, his far-reaching alliance with the powerful tycoon has still not been officially confirmed. Some opposition leaders claim privately that Tsarukian has decided to “ditch” the veteran lawmaker under pressure from President Robert Kocharian.
Dallakian, who has been a bitter critic of the Kocharian administration, was evasive when asked by journalists to comment on the speculation. “As for which parties would like to cooperate with me, I will redirect your questions to them,” he said, adding that he himself will pick one of them if finds it necessary.
Dallakian also stressed that he does not need any party’s backing in order to retain his seat in the National Assembly. “I have never made and will never make any attempts to join any political structure because as an independent politician I was elected to parliament from the Vanadzor constituency No. 36 [in northern Armenia] for three consecutive times and owe nothing to any party,” he said.
Prosperous Armenia already claims to be the largest political group with more than 200,000 members and 300 offices across the country. It is increasingly seen as the brainchild of Kocharian who analysts say needs a new, utterly loyal support base to retain a key role in government after completing his second and final term in office in 2008. Some of them see an unfolding rivalry between Prosperous Armenia and the governing Republican Party of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian and Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian.
(Photolur photo: Victor Dallakian.)