Demirchian Sargsyan Set to Form Alliance for May

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia’s political landscape may soon undergo a radical reshuffle as the powerful Defense Minister Vazgen Sargsyan plans an electoral alliance with one of the most popular politicians–Soviet-era leader Karen Demirchian–Sargsyan’s supporters said on Friday.

Galust Sahakian–a senior member of Sargsyan’s Republican Party of Armenia–confirmed reports that the Republican Party and Demirchian’s People’s Party will most probably declare a join list of candidates for the May parliamentary elections. "There are such trends and they will increasingly become certain. The public will know their outcome in the coming days," Sahakian told RFE/RL. There has been no word from Demirchian yet.

With the former Communist leader’s popularity and the power levers of Sargsyan’s loyalists–the new alliance–if formed–will be the key player during the elections. It remains to be seen how President Robert Kocharian would react to its creation.

Demirchian still claims that he was the rightful winner of last year’s presidential election refusing to accept Kocharian’s legitimacy. Soviet Armenia’s leader from 1974 to 1988–he did unexpectedly well in the last ballot after a ten-year political oblivion. Many impoverished Armenia’s want Demirchian back in a desperate hope that he will restore relatively high living standards they enjoyed in the Soviet times.

Opposition parties have held Defense Minister Sargsyan responsible for massive fraud–reported during elections held in Armenia’since 1995. Sargsyan and his nationalist party have promised a clean vote on May 30. The Republicans’ Sahakian the decision to seek cooperation with Demirchian was not "personal" but reflected the party’s will. He said it was a result of "natural processes" going on in Armenia. Asked about the would-be bloc’s political ambitions–Sahakian said the majority force in the next parliament "must participate in the formation of the government."

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