Thirteen people close to former Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian joined him on Wednesday in leaving the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) ahead of parliamentary elections.
All of them have been affiliated with an HHK chapter in the southern town of Artashat and surrounding villages, where Abrahamian has long had a strong influence. They include his brother Henrik and several relatives, among them parliament deputy Karine Poghosian and Artashat’s deputy mayor, Gagik Poghosian.
Also terminating his membership in the party headed by President Serzh Sarkisian was Rubik Abrahamian. The latter resigned on Tuesday as governor of the Ararat province, of which Artashat is the capital.
A senior HHK official in Yerevan, Ruben Tadevosian, linked the resignations with Abrahamian’s decision to quit the party, which was announced on January 24.
The former premier, who was sacked in September, has still not given a clear reason the move or clarified whether he plans to join another political group in the run-up to the April 2 elections.
Abrahamian was one of the HHK’s most influential figures even before becoming prime minister in 2014. He has managed the party’s presidential and parliamentary election campaigns since 2008.
President Sarkisian launched a thinly veiled attack on Abrahamian at a January 26 meeting of the HHK’s governing body. Abrahamian hit back at the president the following day, provoking a stern rebuke from a party spokesman.