Stepan Demirchian, a prominent Armenian opposition politician, may join an electoral alliance which is currently formed by businessman Gagik Tsarukian, one of his close associates revealed on Monday.
Grigor Harutiunian, the deputy chairman of Demirchian’s People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK), said the two men met recently to discuss their participation in the parliamentary elections scheduled for April 2.
“There have been discussions and meetings,” Harutiunian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “But no concrete decision on the format [of the HZhK’s election participation] has been made yet. The final decision will be made before the end of this month.”
Asked whether Demirchian could run for parliament on the Tsarukian bloc’s ticket, he said: “Nothing can be ruled out because discussions are still ongoing.”
Tsarukian announced his return to politics last week nearly two years after resigning as leader of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the second largest in the current National Assembly, under strong government pressure. He said he will set up an alliance to participate in the upcoming elections.
Tsarukian has avoided any criticism of the Armenian government in recent months, fueling speculation that his comeback was sanctioned by President Serzh Sarkisian. The BHK, which is expected to reelect the tycoon as its leader, has dismissed that speculation.
Demirchian, 57, entered the political arena in 1999 following the assassination of his father Karen, who ruled Soviet Armenia from 1974-1988 and became the country’s parliament speaker just months before his death.
Demirchian Jr. was the main opposition candidate in a 2003 presidential election which he believes was rigged by then President Robert Kocharian. He and his party have been allied to another former president, Levon Ter-Petrosian, for almost a decade.
Harutiunian said that the HZhK leadership has also been discussing the April elections with Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) but refused to give details of those talks. He said only that he thinks that Demirchian’s party should join a “broad-based” alliance “so that it becomes possible to fight against the state vote-rigging machine.”