The latest public remarks by Gagik Tsarukian, the millionaire leader of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), brought little clarity into the ultimate strategies of his anti-government campaign that appeared to have been shifted into a lower gear in recent days.
Addressing the meeting of the BHK Council late on Thursday, Tsarukian essentially repeated his call on party activists countrywide to mobilize for the process of forming ‘provincial offices’ for the movement conducted jointly with two other opposition parties – the Armenian National Congress (HAK) and Heritage.
“When you are ready, you should know that our trio will decide the day, the time and the place,” he stated, without elaborating.
The BHK, the HAK and Heritage held two joint anti-government rallies in Yerevan last month. Speaking at the October 24 gathering in the Armenian capital’s Liberty Square, Tsarukian urged the current leadership to comply with a set of opposition demands or face the prospect of being ousted by a campaign of street protests seeking early elections. Among the demands he singled out amendments to the election laws.
The opposition trio did not immediately announce the date for the next rally. Its representatives later explained it was a matter of tactical consideration and was subject to negotiations amongst the leaders of the movement that also include the HAK’s Levon Ter-Petrosian and Heritage’s Raffi Hovannisian.
The apparent pause fueled more speculations about possible negotiations between the BHK and the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). Representatives of both parties, however, did not confirm media reports about a meeting between Tsarukian and the HHK’s leader, President Serzh Sarkisian last Saturday. Some media even alleged that the two leaders had agreed that early parliamentary elections would be held in Armenia next June.
In his latest public statements Tsarukian avoided using phrases like ‘change of government’. He reiterated that the current anti-government movement did not want to see upheavals in Armenia, but would not accept ‘stagnation’ either. “As long as I am in charge, I won’t allow a defeat and I won’t allow anyone from my team or the people to be harmed. A man takes chances when there is a desperate situation. But victory belongs to us and the future is ours,” Tsarukian said vaguely.