The opposition Bright Armenia Party (LHK) said on Monday that it will not recall after all the sole member of the Yerevan city council affiliated with it due to disagreements with an opposition ally.
The LHK and the Hanrapetutyun (Republic) party make up the Luys (Light) alliance that won three council seats in the September 2018 municipal elections. Two of those seats are held by Hanrapetutyun members Tehmina Vartanian and Ani Khachatrian who regularly launch personal attacks on Yerevan’s pro-government Mayor Hayk Marutian. By contrast, the LHK’s Davit Khazhakian prefers more measured criticism of Marutian.
The increasingly obvious differences between them led LHK leader Edmon Marukian to threaten last week to have Khazhakian resign from the council. The move provoked media speculation that Marukian bowed to pressure from the government. He strongly denied that.
In a statement issued after a meeting in Yerevan, the LHK’s governing board said Khazhakian will remain a council member. While saying that the three Luys councilors remain committed to the bloc’s election campaign platform, the party indicated that it will not bear “political responsibility” for Vartanian’s and Khachatrian’s controversial actions.
Khazhakian downplayed the differences between the two opposition parties when he spoke to RFE/RL’s Armenian service later in the day. He said they still agree on many issues.
Hanrapetutyun’s Vartanian said, for her part, that she continues to hold Khazhakian in high regard and believes the uncertainty over his continued membership in the city council was “artificial.”“I was sure that we will continue working within the framework of a single faction,” she said.