Former Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian spoke of his political party’s vision of democratization in Armenia as he met with United States Ambassador Lynne Tracy on Tuesday.
The office of the former leader said that the meeting took place at the central office of the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) in Yerevan and had been initiated by the U.S. diplomat.
Senior HHK members and U.S. embassy officials also attended the meeting during which Sarkisian reportedly presented his vision of the domestic political situation in Armenia and the positions of the HHK, of which he is the leader, on the current issues.
According to the report, Sarkisian also addressed “economic and security issues and challenges, the current state of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process, as well as prospects for the development of Armenian-American relations.”
Using the occasion, Sarkisian expressed his gratitude for the adoption by the U.S. House of Representatives of Resolution #296 recognizing the Armenian Genocide, the former president’s office said.
“The real democratization of Armenia has no alternative. We have worked in this direction for many years, at the same time building mutually beneficial partnership, including with the United States. Real democracy is the answer to populism that has become a serious challenge for many states around the world. Issues of security of Armenia and Artsakh [Nagorno-Karabakh], stability and peace in the region will continue to be a priority for our political party,” Sarkisian said.
Sarkisian, 65, served two consecutive five-year terms as Armenia’s president in 2008-2018. He went on to occupy the post of the prime minister in April last year after a constitutional reform, but resigned after only six days in office as anti-government protests led by then opposition leader Nikol Pashinian demanding his ouster gained momentum in Armenia.
The HHK that then still constituted a majority in parliament eventually lost its power as a minority government was formed and Pashinian was installed as its head under popular pressure. The HHK failed to be elected to the next Armenian National Assembly in snap polls in December 2018. The results of those elections gave a landslide victory to the alliance led by Pashinian, who thus consolidated his power in Armenia.
Since his resignation Sarkisian has kept a low profile, making few public appearances. In rare public remarks publicized last week Sarkisian branded Armenia’s current leaders as “irresponsible populists” and said he was not afraid of being arrested by them.
Some of Sarkisian’s relatives, cronies and political allies were prosecuted on corruption charges following the dramatic regime change. Also, his predecessor and erstwhile ally, Robert Kocharian, was arrested in July 2018 on coup and bribery charges which he rejects as politically motivated.
The HHK has also alleged political motives behind most of these high-profile cases. The authorities deny that.