Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) leader Gagik Tsarukian denied on Tuesday cutting far-reaching political deals with the Armenian National Congress (HAK), saying that his unfolding cooperation with the opposition alliance centers only on the proper conduct of the upcoming parliamentary elections.
“The cooperation is about ensuring open, fair and transparent elections with joint efforts,” he told reporters on the election campaign trail. “We have signed [a joint statement with the HAK] and said that together with our partners we must be able to at last ensure open, fair and transparent elections for our people.”
Speaking in the resort town of Dilijan, Tsarukian insisted that HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian does not expect the BHK as well as the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and Zharangutyun parties to join the HAK in fighting for President Serzh Sarkisian’s ouster.
“Levon Ter-Petrosian is not proposing such a thing,” said the tycoon. “Levon Ter-Petrosian too is demanding open, fair and transparent elections which are sought by us.”
In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am), Ter-Petrosian stressed the importance of a joint structure which the HAK, the BHK and Dashnaktsutyun have agreed to set up to counter possible vote rigging. “We are cooperating on only one issue: to hold free and fair elections,” he said.
He at the same time made clear tat the HAK will use the unprecedented cooperation framework in its four-year struggle against the Sarkisian government.
“Yes, we have criticized them in the past but since those parties are now acting against the [Sarkisian-led] Republican Party’s monopoly on power it would be politically stupid and amount to a betrayal of our people if we didn’t use this opportunity to get rid of Serzh Sarkisian’s and the [ruling] HHK’s monarchy,” he said.
“Today we are in a battle against the criminal regime and must use all opportunities to topple that criminal regime,” added the HAK leader.
Zharangutyun leaders on Monday criticized the BHK-HAK cooperation, saying that Tsarukian is realizing a secret anti-Sarkisian “scenario” drawn up by Ter-Petrosian. They said this is one reason why their party refused to join the anti-fraud structure.
Tsarukian dismissed those claims. “You just look and see who is directing the Zharangutyun party. Let it blame itself,” he said without elaborating
Tsarukian, who has pulled large and enthusiastic crowds during the election campaign, declined to comment on his party’s electoral chances. He also refused to answer an RFE/RL question about his stance on next year’s Armenian presidential election.