Former Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian made clear on Tuesday that he will not quit politics despite his opposition alliance’s poor showing in Armenia’s recent parliamentary elections.
“False media reports that I left Armenia, got a job abroad [in Russia] and so on are untrue and unacceptable,” Ohanian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) in an interview. “I have served my homeland for 38 years, I have spent my entire life here, and I will carry on with my service for the homeland.”
“I will present the methods, forms and principles [of doing that] to the public after deciding on them,” he said.
“Everyone is in politics today,” Ohanian went on. “Today no capable and intelligent force thinking about Armenia’s future, security and development can stay away from processes taking place in Armenia and around Armenia.”
A retired army general, Ohanian was sacked in October last year after working as defense minister in President Serzh Sarkisian’s administration for more than eight years. He began criticizing the Armenian government shortly afterwards. In January, he teamed up with opposition parties led by former Foreign Ministers Vartan Oskanian and Raffi Hovannisian to run in the April 2 parliamentary elections.
According to the Central of Election Commission (CEC), their ORO alliance polled only 2 percent of the vote, falling well short of a 7 percent threshold for having seats in Armenia’s new parliament. The bloc rejected the official vote results as fraudulent but refrained from staging post-election street protests. Its leaders have kept a low profile since then.
Ohanian insisted that the new National Assembly controlled by Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) “does not reflect the will of the people.” Opposition groups not represented in the legislature must therefore strive to “make our people’s voice heard” by the authorities, he said.
“In that regard, I do not exclude developments outside the parliament that could lead to a force majeure situation,” Ohanian said, alluding to the possibility of future anti-government protests. “I believe that the people must make their voice heard by the authorities,” he added.