Parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian on Thursday denied plotting to become Armenia’s next president and said he will help President Serzh Sarkisian win a second term in office in 2013.
“There will be another [presidential] election [in 2013] and Serzh Sarkisian will get elected,” he said. “At least, I will do everything to help him get elected.”
Abrahamian’s political ambitions have been the subject of intense press speculation in recent weeks. Several pro-opposition newspapers have claimed that he is seeking an even greater role in Armenia’s leadership and has teamed up with businessman Gagik Tsarukian, whose Prosperous Armenia Party is a junior partner in the governing coalition, for that purpose. A recent marriage between Abrahamian’s younger son and one of Tsarukian’s daughters only stoked the speculation.
There have also been media allegations that the two men are coordinating their actions with former President Robert Kocharian, who reputedly close to Tsarukian. According to another opposition conspiracy theory circulating in Yerevan, Abrahamian would not content himself with the post of prime minister and has set his sights on the post of president.
However, the influential speaker, who is a leading member of President Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK), denied harboring presidential ambitions as he held a news conference in Yerevan. “Generally speaking, I am a member of the [HHK] team and have always respected rules of the game,” he said. “I have never distinguished myself with an ability to betray a team.”
Abrahamian argued that he successfully managed Sarkisian’s and the HHK’s campaigns in the last national elections held in 2008 and 2007 in his then capacity as deputy prime minister. He insisted that he remains “faithful” to the president and his political allies.
He also said he welcomes the recent decision by Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian and a dozen other senior government officials close to the latter to join the HHK.
Local commentators have construed that development as an expression of President Sarkisian’s unwavering support for his reformist prime minister. Some have suggested that the head of state thereby warned Abrahamian and other government factions against undercutting the Armenian premier.