Zaruhi Postanjian, an outspoken opposition politician, lashed out at the opposition Yelk alliance on Friday, saying that it was created by the Armenian authorities to weaken their genuine political opponents.
“It’s obvious from their political positions that they cannot be in opposition because those positions match the current illegitimate regime’s positions,” Postanjian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
In particular, she pointed to Yelk’s failure to voice support for jailed opposition gunmen who seized a police station in Yerevan last year and its refusal to boycott this week’s inauguration of the city’s reelected pro-government mayor, Taron Markarian.
One of Yelk’s leaders, Edmon Marukian, disapproved of the deadly attack and pointedly declined to describe the gunmen as political prisoners late last week, saying that their actions had “elements of a crime.” By contrast, Postanjian and other radical opposition strongly support the gunmen.
Yerkir Tsirani, Yelk and the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) are the only political groups that ran in last month’s municipal elections and won seats in the city council. The HHK won the May 14 vote by a landslide.
Yelk holds 14 seats in the 65-member council, compared with 5 seats won by Yerkir Tsirani. Postanjian ruled out any cooperation between council members representing her party and the bloc co-headed by Marukian, Nikol Pashinian and Aram Sarkisian. She dismissed Yelk as President Serzh Sarkisian’s “clients.”
Davit Khazhakian, the young leader of the Yelk faction in the Yerevan council, shrugged off Postanjian’s allegations, saying that she “lost her parliament seat along with political common sense.” “You can always find political clowns in a society,” Khazhakian said. Hardline groups such as Yerkir Tsirani will inevitably marginalize themselves and leave the political arena, he said.
Yelk finished third in Armenia’s recent parliamentary elections, winning 9 seats in the 131-member National Assembly. Postanjian’s party was set up in March and did not run for the parliament.