Former Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Robert Kocharian are not yet considering jointly challenging Armenia’s current government, a senior representative of Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) said on Friday.
The HHK has repeatedly condemned as politically motivated Kocharian’s arrest and prosecution on charges stemming from the 2008 post-election violence in Yerevan. Sarkisian visited and talked to his predecessor on May 25 one week after the latter was released from prison pending the outcome of his trial.
“There was no political agenda at that meeting,” insisted Armen Ashotian, the HHK’s deputy chairman. “Not that I know of. There is no political agenda at the moment in terms of drawing up programs for cooperation between our teams in the future.”
“Again, the HHK support for Robert Kocharian has to do with many other circumstances, not a vision for a common political future. Even Robert Kocharian has not generated such a process yet,” Ashotian told a news conference.
“Of course, if we have a common concern, vision or ideas about the future, we will be ready to talk, cooperate with various political actors,” he said.
Kocharian announced his return to active politics shortly after being indicted in July last year. He has yet to set up his own party or team up with other political groups.
Sarkisian and Kocharian are both natives of Nagorno-Karabakh who had played a major role in the 1991-1994 war with Azerbaijan before holding top government positions in Armenia. Kocharian handed over power to Sarkisian after completing his second presidential term in 2008. Relations between the two men worsened in the following years, with Kocharian increasingly criticizing the Sarkisian administration’s economic and other policies.
The two ex-presidents and their political allies now share strong opposition to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian. Pashinian came to power as a result of last spring’s “velvet revolution” that brought down Sarkisian’s government accused many Armenians of corruption and mismanagement.
Ashotian reiterated the HHK’s highly negative attitude towards the current government. He accused Pashinian of seeking “absolute power” and not tolerating dissent.