President Serzh Sarkisian will continue to lead the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) after serving out his second and final term in April, the chief HHK spokesman said over the weekend.
“The Republicans have one leader and that is Serzh Sarkisian, and Serzh Sarkisian will remain our leader after 2018,” Eduard Sharmazanov told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “In what capacity? Where? The president will discuss that with the party … and we will present [a decision] after April.”
Sarkisian himself has declined to shed light on his precise political plans so far. In a televised interview aired in July, he claimed that “it doesn’t matter” who will be Armenia’s next prime minister because the country will become a parliamentary republic immediately after the end of his presidency. Sarkisian would not say whether he will replace Prime Minister Karen Karapetian. But he did praise the latter’s track record.
Sharmazanov was also vague on that score, saying only that the switch to the parliament system of government will end one-man rule in Armenia. “In accordance with the constitutional reform, power in the country will be concentrated in the hands of those political forces that have a majority [in parliament.]
The HHK won 58 seats in Armenia’s 105-member parliament elected in April. Shortly after those elections it struck a new power-sharing deal with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, which won 7 parliament seats.
Sharmazanov described Sarkisian’s decade-long rule has been a success, saying that the president has improved the conduct of elections and human rights protection, boosted the country’s security and maintained stability.” But he was evasive about economic consequences of Sarkisian’s presidency which Armenian opposition groups consider highly negative.