Kocharian Hints Unity ARF Likely to Form Cabinet

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–President Robert Kocharian indicated over the weekend that the Unity alliance of Defense Minister Vazgen Sargsyan and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation are likely to be present in a new government–expected after this week’s parliamentary elections.

"The government must reflect the correlation of forces in the parliament and–of course–the political majority there must play a serious role in the government. Depending on election results–I will invite representatives of Unity and ARF to consult whether it is possible to take joint steps," Kocharian told reporters during a trip to the northern town of Dilijan.

The two organizations are expected to make a strong showing in the May 30 polls–with Unity seen as the favorite. One of the bloc’s two leaders–Karen Demirchian–was Kocharian’s chief rival in last year’s presidential election.

Kocharian made it clear he sees no threat to his position with Demirchian’s possible return to government. "If I had a different attitude [toward Demirchian] that alliance (Unity) would have hardly been formed," he said. "With Unity’s formation–we get an opportunity for a steady development and robust economic decisions in the next two–three and even four years."

Like Defense Minister Sargsyan–the ARF is a key ally of Kocharian. But differences between Unity and the ARF have emerged lately–with the two groups attacking one another in their respective newspapers. Kocharian claimed that the tensions are now declining–saying that he is ready to act as a "mediator" between them.

Under the Armenian constitution–the government is appointed by the president but the parliament majority can unseat it with a vote of no confidence. Asked about the new cabinet’s tasks–Kocharian said: "There must be formed a team that will not engage in empty debates and will pursue a more forceful economic policy in Armenia."

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