Junior Partner Reaffirms Exit From Armenian Government

Artur Baghdasarian resigned as secretary of Armenia’s National Security Council on Friday, reaffirming the decision by his Orinats Yerkir Party to withdraw from President Serzh Sarkisian’s government.

The Orinats Yerkir leadership announced the decision on April 16, two weeks after the surprise resignation of Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian, It said the party will not seek any ministerial portfolios in the cabinet of newly appointed Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian and will now be in opposition.

“Why did we quit? Because we had no influence on [government] decisions,” Baghdasarian told a news conference. He also attributed the move to the change of the government in which his party was represented by three ministers.

Asked by journalists why his party, which joined Sarkisian’s ruling coalition in 2008, took so long to realized its lack of influence he said, “We tried to increase our tile for six years. Further more, we supported Serzh Sarkisian in the presidential elections and tried to increase our tole. We failed to do that.”

While saying that Orinats Yerkir is now ready to cooperate with the Armenian opposition, Baghdasarian made clear that he will not demand President Sarksian’s resignation because he thinks that would be “immoral”. “Why? Because we have worked with Serzh Sarkisian for six years. As I said, Serzh Sarkisian and I are friend whose paths have now separated.”

“Besides,” continued Baghsarian, “the president does not plan to stay in power after completing his second term in 2018. Serzh Sarkisian himself has announced his departure,” he claimed. “That statement surprised even me.”

Baghdasarian has been a staunch presidential ally ever since his finished third in the 2008 election that formalized the handover of power from President Robert Kocharian to Sarkisian. Orinats Yerkir as well as two other parties, Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and Bashnaktsutyun, joined a coalition government formed by Sarkisian after the disputed ballot.

Dashnaktsutyun and the BHK withdrew from the coalition for different reasons in 2009 and 2012 respectively.

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