Former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said on Thursday that his Hamakhmbum (Consolidation) party is ready to form an alliance with other opposition groups ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections.
Oskanian described the April 2017 vote as a “unique opportunity” to achieve regime change, arguing that it will be followed by Armenia’s transition to the parliament system of government.
“For the sake of a great consolidation, we stand ready to put aside any personal ambition,” he told reporters. In particular, he said, he would not aspire to the top spot in the opposition bloc’s list of election candidates.
Oskanian was reluctant to list his party’s potential opposition allies. “I won’t name any party at this point,” he said. “I’ll just say that we don’t exclude anything and are ready to sit down, negotiate and reach common ground with everyone.”
In that regard, Oskanian made clear that he is open to joining forces with the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK).
The ex-minister and his political associates, who set up Consolidation earlier this year, are former senior members of the BHK. They quit Armenia’s second largest parliamentary force last year after its founding leader, Gagik Tsarukian, was forced into political retirement following a bitter confrontation with President Serzh Sarkisian.
Tsarukian indicated late last month that he is now considering returning to active politics. The BHK’s current leadership publicly urged him to do so earlier in October.
Oskanian, who served as foreign minister under former President Robert Kocharian from 1998-2008, would not be drawn on Tsarukian’s possible political comeback. “I will try to skirt this question as long as Mr. Tsarukian himself has not made a statement,” he said.
But when asked whether Tsarukian can play a major role in the consolidation of opposition forces sought by his party, Oskanian replied: “Of course he can.”