A member of the Armenian parliament representing businessman Gagik Tsarukian’s alliance stepped down on Tuesday one day after criticizing the arrest of former President Robert Kocharian.
Vartan Bostanjian’s resignation was first announced parliament speaker Ara Babloyan. The latter gave no reasons for it.
Bostanjian himself made no statements to the press and could not be reached for comment.
A senior lawmaker from the Tsarukian Bloc, Vahe Enfiajian, claimed that the 68-year-old economist resigned from the parliament because he needs to undergo “lengthy medical treatment.” Enfiajian dismissed media reports giving other, “unreal” reasons for the move.
Speaking to the online Factor TV on Monday, Bostanjian said law-enforcement authorities were wrong to arrest Kocharian late last week on charges stemming from the March 2008 post-election violence in Yerevan. He said that the ex-president is prosecuted because of an unspecified “order.”
Bostanjian’s remarks contrasted with statements on the issue made by senior representatives of the Tsarukian Bloc. They have said that they see no political motives behind Kocharian’s prosecution.
Tsarukian made a big fortune and had a close rapport with Kocharian during the latter’s 1998-2008 rule. Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the dominant component of his alliance, was for years regarded by observers as the ex-president’s support base. The tycoon has not commented on the high-profile case so far.