President Serzh Sarkisian will not trigger massive steet protests if he decides to stay in power as prime minister after completing his final term in April, a senior member of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) insisted on Friday.
Hovannes Sahakian said at the same time that he still does not know what Sarkisian’s plans for 2018 are.
“If our political team decides that President Serzh Sarkisian must carry on [as prime minister] there will definitely be no [popular resentment] given a number of circumstances, including ... Serzh Sarkisian’s contributions to this country made in his current and previous capacities,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Sahakian, who was appointed as head of the Armenian government’s Social Security Service earlier this week, dismissed opposition threats to stage street demonstrations if the president does decide to become prime minister. The Armenian opposition would not pull large crowds, he claimed.
“I don’t think that those [opposition] statements are based on serious opinion polls,” said the presidential loyalist. “They are just political statements.”
In a televised interview aired last month, Sarkisian again declined to shed light on his political future. He claimed that “it doesn’t matter” who will be Armenia’s prime minister after April 2018.
“I have never thought about what my next area of activity will be,” Sarkisian told the Armenia TV channel. “I continue to think in the same way. There is still a lot of time [left before April 2018.]”
The end of Sarkisian’s decade-long presidency will complete Armenia’s transition to a parliamentary system of government. The current prime minister, Karen Karapetian, has repeatedly indicated his desire to retain his post after that transition.