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Lawmaker Explains Decision To Leave Tsarukian’s Party


Armenia - Gevorg Petrosian attends a session of the Armenian parliament, May 25, 2020.

Gevorg Petrosian, an outspoken opposition parliamentarian, said on Thursday that he decided to leave Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) because it has been too soft on the country’s government.

He claimed that although the BHK is part of an opposition alliance trying to oust Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian many of its senior members have not adequately participated in anti-government rallies held after the autumn war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

“When I went [to opposition rallies] people shamed me, saying ‘Where is your party? Why is it not participating in this rally?’” Petrosian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.

“We are accused of being false opposition. I don’t want to be labeled false opposition,” he said.

The BHK is the sole member of the opposition alliance, called the Homeland Salvation Movement, represented in the parliament. The movement is scheduled to hold its next rally on Saturday. Tsarukian is expected to attend it. Like other opposition leaders, he has repeatedly demanded Pashinian’s resignation.

Petrosian complained that other senior BHK figures did not like his harsh anti-government rhetoric. He said they did not stand by him when a leading member of Pashinian’s My Step bloc demanded recently an end to his derogatory attacks on Pashinian and other senior officials.

Petrosian announced his decision to leave the BHK and remain in the parliament as an independent deputy on Tuesday.

The BHK spokeswoman, Iveta Tonoyan, said afterwards that the decision took her and her colleagues by surprise. She said that Petrosian did not discuss his grievances with them.

Petrosian’s exit reduced to 23 the number of seats controlled by Tsarukian’s party in the 132-member National Assembly.

The 48-year-old lawmaker has already had a turbulent relationship with the BHK leadership in the past. He left the party in 2010 but rejoined it five years later. He was expelled from the party ranks in 2016 only to be elected to the parliament on BHK ticket the following year.

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