Parliament Speaker Poised to Resign Quit Armenian Coalition

YEREVAN (RFE/RL/Armenpress)–Artur Baghdasarian is prepared to resign as speaker of Armenia’s parliament and pull his Orinats Yerkir party out of the governing coalition–said Heghine Bisharian–a senior Orinats Yerkir lawmaker.

As three more wealthy lawmakers defected from Orinats Yerkir late Wednesday and early Thursday–the number of parliament seats controlled by Baghdasarian’s party shrunk to 11. His party had 20 seats as recently as last month–boasting the second largest faction in the 131-member Parliament.

According to Bisharian–a parliament member who remains loyal to Baghdasarian–the party’s continued presence in government is becoming meaningless in such circumstances. "I personally am in favor of his resignation and our departure from the coalition," she told a news conference.

"The entire Orinats Yerkir Party is of the same opinion," said Bisharian. Asked whether Baghdasarian shares that opinion–she replied: "I think he will."

Baghdasarian has declined to publicly comment on the situation.

Bisharian said Baghdasarian and the ruling board of the party will make the final decision in a few days. She said the party is still uncertain about what political force to cooperate with or which political landscape move to after walking out from the ruling coalition.

She said the exodus of eight members of the party was unexpected and did not rule out that their decision could have been prompted by a strong pressure on part of top government officials.

Orinats Yerkir has now three ministers in the government. Its officials say the party remains the largest political party in Armenia with about 62,000 members.

"I think the departure of a dozen [members] won’t make any difference for the party," said Bisharian.

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