President Serzh Sarkisian should stay in power after serving out his second and final presidential term in April, a deputy chairman of his Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) said on Thursday.
“He must continue to govern our country, there is no other person [qualified for that role,]” Galust Sahakian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
“Even during the rule of [former Presidents] Levon Ter-Petrosian and Robert Kocharian there were people capable of being presidents,” he said. “We don’t have such people [except Sarkisian] now.”
Sahakian, who is a former speaker of the Armenian parliament, insisted that this is the dominant view within the HHK. But he was careful not to say that Sarkisian must necessarily extend his rule by becoming prime minister in April 2018, when Armenia becomes a parliamentary republic.
“I’m not saying yet that his candidacy must be nominated for the post of prime minister,” the veteran HHK figure went on. “What I’m saying is that Serzh Sarkisian must keep directing all kinds of actions of our country.”
Sahakian also claimed in that regard that the Armenian parliament will be more powerful than the prime minister under the parliamentary system of government. “I think that the National Assembly, not an individual, will be the strongest entity because the prime minister can be changed once in every six or even three months,” he said.
Sarkisian has still not clarified whether he plans to become prime minister or stay in government in another capacity. He stated in July that “it doesn’t matter” who will be Armenia’s prime minister after the end of his decade-long presidency.
Sarkisian said in March that he would like to “play a role, in some capacity, in ensuring the security of our people” after April 2018.