A close associate of Gagik Tsarukian spoke out on Tuesday against a possible power-sharing deal between his alliance and the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) that would result from the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Naira Zohrabian claimed that the Tsarukian Bloc is aiming for victory in the April 2 vote, rather than the status of a junior coalition partner of the HHK.
“I see no reason why citizens of the Republic of Armenia should vote for the Republican Party. Nor do I see any reason for post-election cooperation with the Republicans,” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Zohrabian argued that the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the key member of Tsarukian’s bloc, pulled out of President Serzh Sarkisian’s coalition government after the last parliamentary elections despite being offered more ministerial posts. “We refused [the offer] because it was clear to us that if you don’t have a controlling stake [in the government] … you can’t solve issues,” she said.
The BHK finished second in the 2012 elections. Tsarukian became increasingly critical of the Sarkisian administration in the following years. The tensions resulted in a bitter confrontation with the HHK and Tsarukian’s retirement from politics in 2015.
The tycoon announced his political comeback in January. He complained about lingering socioeconomic hardship in the country but stopped short of blaming Sarkisian or the government for it. Tsarukian declined to specify his political objectives when he unveiled his new alliance on February 16.
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.