Fight between Oligarch Tsaroukian and President Sargisian Intensifies

1
0

tsaroukianSerzh-Sargsyan-Gagik-Tsarukyan-e1423813341433-620x300

YEREVAN (Combined Sources) — On February 12, the leader of Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), Gagik Tsarukian, attacked President Serge Sargisian both in terms of his person and his political abilities. He publicly called for a regime change via snap presidential elections.

The entire scenario some two weeks ago when a Prosperous Armenia Part (BHK) party activist was seized off a Yerevan street, pushed into a waiting car, and later beaten quite severely.

The BHK, Armenia’s second largest political party, laid the full responsibility of the attack on the ruling Armenian Republican Party (HHK) government.

This, in turn, led to threats from the top echelons of the ruling party to the BHK that such accusations should be dropped or the consequences would be dire.

Those consequences were stated later in a speech by President Sargisian before senior members of the HHK.

Get the Mirror in your inbox:

Sargisian derided Tsarukian as an unfit political leader, threatened to kick him out of parliament and ordered tax audits of his multi-million dollar business empire.

In a statement at a meeting of BHK parliamentary faction members and party officials, Tsarukian called on the people of Armenia “to prepare for struggle.”

“When 3,000 people come out into the streets, they are forced to modify the law. When all the people fill the streets, the regime will change. I am now calling for a national mobilization with just one goal in mind – using all legal means (round the clock rallies, marches, and demonstrations, civil disobedience) to force Serge Sargisian to leave office and thus rid the country of this menace.”

The use of the word “menace” by Tsarukian in describing Sargisian is a direct comeback to the president’s remarks earlier labeling the oligarch as “a menace to our country.”

Tsarukian declared that the regime must leave forthwith and that Armenia needed to clean itself of the suffocating environment in which it finds itself.

“Today, I regard the most important work of my life to be liberating Armenia from this regime of evil,” Tsarukian concluded.

Tsarukian also remarked that he will be meeting with representatives of the opposition Armenian National Congress and the Heritage Party for talks.

On February 12, at the Republican Party (RPA) board meeting President Serge Sargisian harshly criticized his former coalition partner saying that Gagik Tsarukian had participated in only 4 out of 145 parliament meetings in 2013-2014. The absences will be used as evidence for pushing Tsarukian out of parliament.

“If he ignores those who voted for him and the role of the National Assembly, we do not have the right for that, we are responsible for the rights of every single citizen of Armenia. Our MPs will take up measures to put an end to such situations from tomorrow on,” Sargisian said.

Parliament Speaker Galust Sahakian in his turn assured reporters that the study will refer not only to Tsarukian, but to all other MPs, saying that the PAP representatives are those who were mostly absent from the NA sessions.

According to the Constitution, in order to withdraw an MP’s mandate, it is enough to have unexcused absences from more than half of the votes during one NA sessions.

According to Parliamentmonitoring.am, during the 6th session of the 5th convocation Tsarukian was absent from all 133 votes. But at the 4th convocation, Tsarukian was again among the most frequently absent MPs – absent from 511 meetings, delivering no speeches and asking no questions. In Armenia there has been only one precedent of withdrawing an MP’s mandate on such grounds; on October 9 2001, Vano Siradeghyan, a former embattled interior minister and mayor of Yerevan who went into hiding after being charged with a number of crimes, including murder.

Human rights activist Zhanna Alexanyan does not exclude that with this move the authorities seek to deprive Tsarukian of his parliamentary immunity for possible prosecution and arrest.

On Monday, former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, a member of PAP, wrote on his Facebook page: “Today, at a special PAP board meeting it was decided that if Gagik Tsarukian is deprived of his mandate and if that happens before February 20 rally, we — Naira Zohrabyan and I, many other PAP members will start a sit-in, why not — a hunger strike.”

Late on Monday evening a number of police representatives broke into the PAP MP Rustam Gasparyan’s apartment and tried to conduct a search, also took Artur Mamoyan, the Nor-Nork office head, to the police station.

(Reporters from Armenpress, AmreniaNow and Hetq were used to compile this story.)