A leading member of Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) on Wednesday reaffirmed its declared commitment to “regime change” but stopped short of demanding the conduct of fresh elections in the country.
Stepan Markarian declined to specify whether the BHK and its opposition allies, the Armenian National Congress (HAK) and the Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, want to oust President Serzh Sarkisian now or are ready to let him serve out his second presidential term in return for some concessions.
“We are going to solve issues facing the country,” Markarian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “Whether that will be done gradually or at once or through a roadmap, we are going to solve those issues.”
“That does not preclude anything,” he went on. “But nobody can say in advance how [further developments] will go. We are going to solve issues. If they are solved through regular [elections,] so it be. If not, we will go for pre-term ones.”
The BHK, the HAK and Zharangutyun rallied thousands of supporters in Yerevan on Friday as part of their joint campaign of anti-government protests. Addressing the crowd, HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian called for a “complete regime change” in the country through fresh presidential and parliamentary elections. Ter-Petrosian’s deputy, Levon Zurabian, said the opposition trio expects a “peaceful handover of power” from Sarkisian.
BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian and his close associates made more ambiguous statements at that rally. Tsarukian promised to deliver a more detailed and substantive speech at the next protest scheduled for October 24.
Markarian said that the BHK leader will elaborate on his party’s objectives and present ways of achieving them. He also made clear that the BHK will in no case drop its strong objections to a constitutional reform planned by Sarkisian.