The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) demanded on Tuesday that a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) clarify his claim that President Serzh Sarkisian’s administration is “discredited” in the eyes of many citizens.
Rustamian made the claim on Monday as he defended his party’s decision to cut a new power-sharing agreement with Sarkisian. He said Dashnaktsutyun would exert a positive influence on government policy through such a deal.
Vahram Baghdasarian, the leader of the HHK’s parliamentary faction, denounced the blunt remark. “We have urged Mr. Rustamian to once again present an explanation. If he repeats that, then we will have to draw conclusions,” he warned.
Baghdasarian was also incensed by Rustamian’s claim that Dashnaktsutyun will damage its popularity if it again teams up with Sarkisian’s party. “In the current National Assembly, Dashnaktsutyun is represented by 5 deputies, while the HHK by 70 deputies,” he said, insisting that the HHK is indeed the country’s most popular and influential force at present.
Rustamian appeared unrepentant about his controversial characterization, even if he claimed that journalists took it out of context. “I will not retract what I said because I do believe that there are many problems,” he said. “And if there are many problems [in Armenia] then it is the authorities that are primarily responsible for solving them. And the authorities have a problem with their reputation.”
It is not yet clear whether the angry verbal exchange could complicate Dashnaktsutyun’s ongoing talks with Sarkisian over terms of its return to the government. Eduard Sharmazanov, the HHK spokesman, insisted that the two sides should still be able to reach an agreement.
Dashnaktsutyun was also attacked by the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK). Levon Zurabian, the HAK’s deputy chairman, claimed that the pan-Armenian party does not care about its popularity because it expects to benefit from fresh electoral fraud which he said is planned by Sarkisian.