The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) has not yet decided whether to nominate its own candidate for the vacant post of prime minister, a senior lawmaker representing the HHK said on Wednesday.
The HHK, which controls the majority of seats in the Armenian parliament, was instrumental in the National Assembly’s refusal on Tuesday to choose opposition leader Nikol Pashinian as prime minister. The party has not nominated a prime-ministerial candidate since its top leader, Serzh Sarkisian, resigned as prime minister on April 23 amid massive street protests led by Pashinian.
Gevorg Kostanian, the chairman of the parliament committee on legal affairs, would not say whether the HHK will field a candidate before a second parliament vote on the new premier slated for May 8.
“I don’t know, we have not yet discussed these issues,” Kostanian told reporters. “As soon as they are discussed you will be informed. I have no information at the moment.”
Kostanian, who previously served as the country’s prosecutor-general, also would not be drawn on possible HHK concessions to Pashinian or other solutions to the grave political crisis that could be proposed by Sarkisian’s party. “The situation is tough and you are asking tough questions answers to which I don’t have answers,” he said.
Pashinian and opposition forces allied to him maintain that his becoming prime minister is the only viable solution to the crisis. They say an interim government headed by him must promptly hold pre-term parliamentary elections.
Such elections will have to be called if the parliament again fails to elect a prime minister on May 8. But they would be administered by the current government. Kostanian did not rule out this scenario.
The lawmaker also insisted that Sarkisian, who was Armenia’s president from 2008-2018, is not single-handedly deciding the actions of the HHK’s parliamentary. “Serzh Sarkisian is the leader of the party but it doesn’t mean that decisions are made only by Serzh Sarkisian,” he said.