A prominent Armenian opposition politician said on Tuesday that he will help to set up a new electoral alliance that will strive for Armenia’s withdrawal from the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and closer ties with the West.
Aram Sarkisian said that his Hanrapetutyun (Republic) party and other extraparliamentary opposition groups will join forces to win over Armenians opposing membership in the EEU and supporting an Association Agreement with the European Union. He claimed that they make up least 40 percent of the country’s population.
“I believe that in this geopolitical situation these forces will act in a joint and consolidated fashion in the  parliamentary elections and, after achieving serious results, will mount a serious challenge in the  presidential elections, which could result in their victory,” Sarkisian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Although Sarkisian did not specify those forces, he most probably referred to pro-Western former political allies of Levon Ter-Petrosian who have split from his Armenian National Congress (HAK) in recent years. Many of them held senior government positions when Ter-Petrosian served as Armenia’s first president from 1991-1998. They played a major role in the ex-president’s 2008 bid to return to power.
Sarkisian, who too was part of Ter-Petrosian’s broad-based opposition movement, already called in late 2013 for the consolidation of these oppositionists and like-minded groups. Unlike Ter-Petrosian, the latter openly advocate a reorientation of Armenian foreign policy towards the West and the EU in particular. They have also strongly objected to Ter-Petrosian’s alliance with the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) of Gagik Tsarukian, a businessman close to former President Robert Kocharian.
Aram Sarkisian, who had served as prime minister in 1999-2000, alleged on Tuesday that Russia was behind the creation of that alliance. He said Moscow would have used the HAK and the BHK to topple Armenia’s current leadership if it had signed the Association Agreement with the EU.
Ter-Petrosian and his remaining loyalists have repeatedly accused their former allies of secretly collaborating with President Serzh Sarkisian, a claim they strongly deny. The HAK leader poured scorn on them at a rally held in Yerevan on Sunday.