Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) reiterated on Wednesday that it would not join a possible coalition government led by Nikol Pashinian after Sunday’s general elections.
“Cooperation with Pashinian is out of the question,” a senior BHK representative, Iveta Tonoyan, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service during an election campaign rally held by the opposition party in Vanadzor.
“The party is not discussing the possibility of any other coalition because Prosperous Armenia is participating in the elections with a determination to win and nominate Gagik Tsarukian’s candidacy [for the post of prime minister,]” she said.
Pashinian and his Civil Contract party will have to look for coalition partners if they fail to win a majority of seats in Armenia’s next parliament.
Tsarukian already stated late last month that he will not strike any power-sharing agreements with Pashinian as a result of the upcoming elections. He did not comment on the possibility of reaching a coalition agreement with other major opposition forces participating in the snap polls.
The BHK came in a distant second in the last parliamentary elections held in December 2018, winning 8.3 percent of the vote.
Tsarukian did not discuss internal political issues in his speech delivered at the Vanadzor rally. Instead he again focused on socioeconomic and national security issues.
The tycoon renewed his calls for further deepening Armenia’s ties with Russia through a new bilateral “military-political” accord.
Tsarukian demanded Pashinian’s resignation in June last year, accusing the Armenian prime minister of incompetence and misrule. Shortly afterwards he was controversially prosecuted on that he sees as politically motivated charges. He was arrested in September but freed on bail almost one month later.
Like other opposition groups, the BHK has blamed Pashinian for Armenia’s defeat in the autumn war in Nagorno-Karabakh and demanded his resignation. It joined late last year a grouping of opposition parties that staged street protests in a bid topple the prime minister.