A senior representative of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) expressed confidence on Tuesday that Armen Sarkissian, a former Armenian prime minister currently serving as ambassador to Britain, will agree to become the country’s next president.
Sarkissian met with parliament deputies representing the HHK late on Monday at the start of political consultations which he has said will help him decide whether to accept the HHK nomination for the presidency.
“I gathered from yesterday’s meeting that it reinforced his [inclination to make a] positive decision,” said Vahram Baghdasarian, the parliamentary leader of the party headed by the outgoing President Serzh Sarkisian.
“I am convinced that Armen Sarkissian will opt for that decision,” Baghdasarian told reporters.
Later on Monday the 64-year-old ambassador also met with the leaders of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), the HHK’s junior coalition partner. One of them, Armen Rustamian, said afterwards that Dashnaktsutyun will endorse Sarkissian “in all likelihood” if he decides to run for president.
Sarkissian again declined to shed light on his plans when he briefly spoke to journalists before meeting with senior members of Armenia’s National Academy of Sciences on Tuesday. “Yesterday’s meetings were very productive and interesting,” the Armenpress news agency quoted him as saying. He did not elaborate.
The next Armenian president will be elected by the parliament, rather than popular vote, one month before Serzh Sarkisian completes his second and final presidential term on April 9. Armenia will switch to a parliamentary system of government right after that, meaning that the new head of state will have largely ceremonial powers.
The HHK controls the majority of seats in the National Assembly.