Businessman Gagik Tsarukian declined to specify his political objectives on Thursday as he unveiled his new alliance which will be one of the main contenders in Armenia’s upcoming parliamentary elections.
Tsarukian spoke to reporters after it was announced that the alliance will officially consist of his Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) and two smaller parties. The tycoon’s political allies had predicted the formation of a more broad-based bloc.
Asked whether he thinks he can win the April 2 polls and achieve regime change, Tsarukian said: “I’ve already said everything … about the most important problems which you also feel in your daily lives. I’ve said that we want to … solve these extremely important problems so that we help our people get on their feet.
“It’s not about a particular individual thinking about whether they will retain their post or become a parliament deputy. It’s about the nation and the state.”
“I love our people,” added the BHK leader. “If we manage to conduct our campaign correctly and inform the people, then it will be up to the people to decide their future. It all depends on our people, on us. Our teammates need to conduct our campaign correctly, listen to our people and present our program to them.”
Tsarukian likewise avoided calling for regime change when he was reinstated as BHK chairman on Friday two years after retiring from politics under strong government pressure. In a speech, he complained about lingering socioeconomic hardship in the country but stopped short of openly blaming President Serzh Sarkisian or the government for it.
Tsarukian announced his decision to return to the political arena last month following a visible improvement of his rapport with Sarkisian. Some Armenian commentators and opposition politicians have claimed his comeback is part of a secret deal with Sarkisian. Senior BHK members have dismissed these claims, saying that their party remains in opposition to the government.
Meeting with senior members of the ruling Republican Party (HHK) late last month, Sarkisian said he does “not welcome” Tsarukian’s decision to return to politics. But he did not explicitly criticize or warn the tycoon.
Asked whether the president’s remark will impact his political activities, Tsarukian said: “I don’t know. Ask the people.”
“He is the president of our country,” he went on. “That’s his position. Again -- and I’ve told my teammates -- only a weak person can insult or throw mud at any party, not just the president.”