Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) leader Gagik Tsarukian on Thursday criticized as too negative a landmark televised debate between the leaders of 11 Armenian political forces running for parliament.
Tsarukian, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and the nine other leaders discussed late on Wednesday political, economic and security challenges facing Armenia for more than three hours. Pashinian clashed with his most vocal opponent, Vigen Sargsian of the former ruling Republican Party (HHK), throughout the live debate hosted by Armenian Public Television. Sargsian was also attacked by some of the other participants.
Tsarukian steered clear of the verbal exchanges until he was unexpectedly criticized by Bright Armenia Party leader Edmon Marukian. The tycoon hit back at the latter, defending his involvement in both politics and business.
“It wasn’t to my liking,” Tsarukian said of the debate as he campaigned for Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Gyumri. “Every party leader should have presented his views, programs, approaches in detail … and said what he would do in concrete spheres.”
The BHK leader, who hopes to finish second in the elections, said he would have liked to hear more detailed statements from his opponents on how to improve the socioeconomic situation in the country.
“It looked like each leader wanted to win some dividends at the expense of others,” he told reporters. “I thought that everyone is going to say how they would go about developing a particular sphere.”
Campaigning in Gyumri, Tsarukian was again mobbed by scores of impoverished people who handed him letters asking for material or other assistance. “All letters will be read and presented to Tsarukian and will get answers after the elections,” he said, adding that he cannot help anyone before the polls because that would be deemed vote buying by electoral authorities.