Vote of Confidence for Premier by Republican Party

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–A leading figure in the Republican Party of Armenia’said Monday that the political organization–described by the authorities as their main support base–will not seek to replace Prime Minister Armen Darbinian if it wins parliamentary elections due in May.

"We and the present prime minister support the same ideology. There are no serious problems between us and the government," said the Andranik Markarian–a member of the party’s ruling board.

The Republican party is currently merging with the Yerkrapah Union of Karabakh war veterans–led by Vazgen Sargsyan–one of the most powerful politicians in Armenia. Markarian’s commen’s were in response to widespread speculations that Darbinian will be sacked as prime minister whatever the outcome of the elections.

"There may well be some changes in the government [after the elections] but we have no problems with the prime minister," Markarian said. "I think that today’s government reflects views of the president (Robert Kocharian) and our party."

Addressing supporters In November–Sargsyan said the Republic party would be the party upon which Kocharian will rely most.

Markarian said the founding congress of the new Republican Party will most probably convene on January 29–a few days after the Yerkrapah-controlled parliament is expected to pass a new election law. Already approved in the first reading and condemned as undemocratic by the opposition–the law is believed to be crucial for the outcome of the elections.

Markarian said despite its intentions not to form any electoral alliances–the Republican Party wants to "cooperate" with those parties that support President Kocharian.

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