The recently formed Yelk opposition alliance said on Friday that it is ready to reach power-sharing deals with all other contenders in Armenia’s upcoming parliamentary elections challenging the ruling Republican Party (HHK).
“We rule out [post-election] cooperation, under any circumstances, only with the Republican Party,” one of its leaders, Nikol Pashinian, told a news conference.
“Not because we see many like-minded partners in the political arena but because we think that if we see a real opportunity in the parliament to effect regime in Armenia … we will have to be flexible and take steps for the sake of such change.”
Pashinian and Yelk’s two other top leaders, Edmon Marukian and Aram Sarkisian, at the same time questioned the opposition credentials of some of the other parties and blocs. Yelk will not cut deals with them if they bribe voters or help the authorities rig the April 2 elections, said the three men.
“There are many parties that claim to be in opposition but have their own TV channels giving a detailed and neutral coverage of the government, and possess serious resources,” Sarkisian said in a clear reference to the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and two other groups led by Gagik Tsarukian and Artur Baghdasarian.
“If they participate in the elections honestly, don’t hand out bribes, and fight, together with our proxies, against falsifications carried out by the authorities in polling stations, we’ll see with whom we can cooperate and how,” added the veteran politician.
The Yelk leaders hit out at the electoral alliances led by Tsarukian and former Defense Minister Ohanian as recently as on February 14. “I haven’t heard any opposition statements by them,” said Marukian. Pashinian, for his part, claimed that Ohanian and Tsarukian would rather enter into a coalition with the HHK than opposition forces.
Yelk was set up in December by Marukian’s Bright Armenia, Pashinian’s Civil Contract and Sarkisian’s Republic parties. In a joint declaration, they said they will strive for a “European model of the democratic, rule-of-law and social state” in Armenia.