Zaruhi Postanjian, a prominent opposition parliamentarian, left Raffi Hovannisian’s Zharangutyun (Heritage) party on Monday in protest against its leadership’s decision to form an electoral alliance with two former government ministers.
Hovannisian, former Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian and former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian announced the establishment of the alliance on February 13 less than two months before Armenia’s parliamentary elections. A joint declaration adopted by them calls for regime change and a “new type of government” in the country.
Postanjian openly opposed the alliance with Ohanian and Oskanian in the weeks leading up to the announcement. In particular, she said that both men were involved in former President Robert Kocharian’s 2008 post-election crackdown on opposition protesters in Yerevan, which left ten people dead and involved mass arrests.
Announcing her exit from Zharangutyun, Postanjian said Hovannisian’s joint statement with the ex-ministers ran counter to the party’s platform and political background. She also said Ohanian and Oskanian are not “carriers Zharangutyun’s ideology” and have a different “value system.”
“Our problem is not individuals but the program which Zharangutyun has and was supposed to implement,” the outspoken lawmaker told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). The party leadership has deviated from that program, she claimed.
Oskanian, who leads another party called Hamakhmbum (Consolidation), served as foreign minister from 1998-2008, while Ohanian became defense minister shortly after Kocharian handed over power to President Serzh Sarkisian in April 2008. Ohanian was sacked in October last year.