One of the leaders of a newly formed opposition alliance on Friday claimed to have held “very productive” talks with businessman Gagik Tsarukian on Armenia’s upcoming parliamentary elections.
“We have had a warm personal relationship and periodically met since 2003,” Victor Dallakian told reporters. “We also meet in this period.”
“I won’t give more details and will just say that my meetings with Mr. Tsarukian are very productive,” he said.
Dallakian, who resigned as a deputy chief of President Serzh Sarkisian’s staff in October, leads one of four Armenian parties that have decided to join forces in challenging the authorities in the April 2 elections. The bloc’s leadership also includes former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian. It is expected to be joined by former Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian, who also served in the government until October.
Dallakian said that he hopes for a consolidation of anti-government forces that would “topple Serzh Sarkisian’s regime as a result of the parliamentary elections.”
Tsarukian has decided to return to the political arena and participate in the elections last week nearly two years after resigning as leader of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) under strong pressure from Sarkisian. Relations between the two men appear to have improved following a bitter confrontation that led to the tycoon’s retirement from politics.
Tsarukian said last week that he will run for parliament at the head of a new electoral bloc that will presumably comprise the BHK and other groups supporting him. He criticized the socioeconomic situation in Armenia but stopped short of blaming the government for it, fueling more media speculation that his political comeback is the result of a secret deal with Sarkisian.
Both the BHK and the ruling Republican Party of Armenia have dismissed the speculation.