A leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) indicated on Wednesday that his pro-government party does not object to President Serzh Sarkisian’s apparent plans to stay in power after serving out his final term next month.
Arsen Hambardzumian, the new nominal head of Dashnaktsutyun’s governing body in Armenia, commented on claims by senior members of the ruling Republican Party (HHK) that Sarkisian is “irreplaceable” for the country.
“There are clear challenges facing Armenia,” Hambardzumian told a news conference. “It’s not a secret that we have the issue of Artsakh’s (Nagorno-Karabakh’s) security … that there are critical developments in the region with an element of unpredictability, that the government system in Armenia is being changed.
“These are all risks and challenges. In these circumstances, the approaches voices with regard to [Sarkisian’s] experience and being well-informed about these processes are logical.”
“So if we all are guided by common sense, I’m sure you too will conclude that those arguments are often appropriate,” he added.
Dashnaktsutyun leaders have said in recent months that it is up to the ruling HHK to decide who should govern Armenia after Sarkisian’s final presidential term ends on April 9. So far they have stopped short of explicitly endorsing the outgoing president’s candidacy for the post of prime minister.
Dashnaktsutyun, which is particularly influential in the worldwide Armenian Diaspora, is represented in the government by three ministers in line with a power-sharing agreement reached with Sarkisian two years ago. It won 7 seats in the country’s 105-member parliament elected in April 2017.
In Hambardzumian’s words, the party leadership is satisfied with the work of the three Dashnaktsutyun-affiliated ministers and sees “no need for their replacement.” The next Armenian prime minister is due to form a new cabinet after being elected by the parliament on April 17.
In a statement released in early February, Dashnaktsutyun said it remains dissatisfied with the socioeconomic situation in Armenia despite “unprecedented” GDP growth achieved last year. The government, it said, should do more to reduce poverty, spur job creation, “ease income polarization,” and take tougher anti-trust measures.