Businessman Gagik Tsarukian said through a spokesperson on Thursday that he did not try to pressurize some of his allies elected to the Armenian parliament into ceding their seats to other candidates of his electoral alliance.
The Tsarukian Bloc won 31 of the 105 seats in the new National Assembly elected on April 2. Earlier this week, it submitted to the Central Election Commission (CEC) letters of resignation supposedly signed by 23 of its mostly successful election candidates.
Twelve of those candidates told the CEC that they did not sign the letters and would still like to become parliament deputies. The commission handed parliamentary mandate to eight of them.
Tsarukian’s press secretary, Iveta Tonoyan, insisted that all of those men signed such resignation letters in the run-up to the April 2 in return for their inclusion on the bloc’s national and regional lists of candidates. She said they agreed that their election to the parliament will be conditional on a particular number of votes which they pledged to receive in various constituencies across Armenia.
“The election results [in those constituencies] showed that those candidates didn’t get even half of the votes targeted and promised by them,” Tonoyan told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “Naturally, this should have had appropriate consequences.”
“So I think that trying to pose as victims now is just not honest,” she said.
Tonoyan also stressed the fact none of the elected deputies that have defied Tsarukian has claimed that his signature was forged by the bloc’s leadership.
It is not yet clear whether the eight lawmakers will join Tsarukian’s parliamentary faction or sever their links with the influential tycoon, who claims to be in opposition to President Serzh Sarkisian.
Hakob Badalian, a political analyst, described their decision to take up their parliament seats as a blow to Tsarukian. He said they may have been encouraged by other powerful forces to challenge their leader.
“It means that there are now developments within Tsarukian Bloc which are not quite manageable for Gagik Tsarukian,” added Badalian.