A leading member of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) on Thursday blamed its increasingly obvious friction with Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) on his reluctance to pledge support for President Serzh Sarkisian’s reelection bid.
Razmik Zohrabian, an HHK deputy chairman, pointed out that the BHK has not yet announced whom it will support in the next presidential election due in 2013. “This is where some tensions or disagreements come from … If [the BHK stance] was clarified we would have a different relationship,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service.
According to Zohrabian, the HHK has repeatedly asked its most important coalition partner about the 2013 election. “They said that they will talk about who will be their [presidential] candidate after 2012,” he said.
BHK representatives stated late last year that Tsarukian’s party will field its own presidential candidate if it wins parliamentary elections scheduled for May 2012. The Republicans are likewise aiming for victory in the polls.
“If they field their own candidate, our relations will be different,” Zohrabian warned, adding that BHK endorsement of Sarkisian’s candidacy now is “very desirable.” Still, he insisted that “nobody is forcing them” to do that.
In a speech at an HHK conference in December, Sarkisian denied media claims that the BHK, which is represented in his government by four ministers, is under pressure to support his reelection or quit the ruling coalition.
The HHK’s second coalition partner, the Orinats Yerkir Party, has already pledged such support. The Orinats Yerkir leader, Artur Baghdasarian said last year that he will not run for president in 2013.
Baghdasarian was a major candidate in the last presidential election held in February 2008.