YEREVAN—The chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau, Hrant Markarian, told the RFE/RL Armenian Service that Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan is “at war” with the ARF.
Markarian said that Sargsyan’s proclaimed war on the ARF was due the party’s harsh criticism of the prime minister’s economic policies. The ARF leader added that Sargsyan has begun ordering “dirty gossip” in the press.
Markarian was referring to news items circulating in certain Armenian media outlets that allege that the ARF is in an internal leadership turmoil, with attempts being made to allegedly remove Markarian from the party’s leadership.
Markarian admitted that there has been disappointment among party members over ARF’s poor showing in recent major elections and insisted that the party has addressed those concerns.
“What is being written in the press is not true,” said Markaian adding that external forces are attempting to create schisms. “In this case, I’m talking about the Prime Minister.”
“After being criticized for his failed economic policies, Prime Minister Sargsyan has openly declared war on the ARF. And this kind of dirty reporting, dirty gossip-laced reporting, is his doing,” said Markarian, adding that “When a man is weak he attempts to resolve matters in this way.”
Markarian told RFE/RL that the prime minister has made these statements to his “inner circle. He knows full-well where he has made the statements.”
The Bureau leader said that this “war” will hurt Sargsyan more than it will the ARF.
In response to an RFE/RL question regarding the prime minister’s recent fracas over alleged “off shore” investments, Markarian said that Sargsyan’s explanations have placed him “in a funny predicament.”
The Prime Minister has denied any “off shore” dealings and has said that he was not aware of his name appearing on the deed of a company registered in Cyprus. Markarian said “If that’s his answer, it’s funny.”
Markarian, once again, reiterated his party’s call for Sargsyan to resign.
“If we don’t want to kill the last ray of hope in our country, [the prime minister’s resignation] is the least that can be done. Not only the prime minister, there are many people who must change,” said Markarian.
“We neither love nor hate the prime minister,” Markarian told RFE/RL’ Armenian service. “But he is a failed prime minister, and that is why he is using such methods to solve his issues.”
When asked whether the party is seeking the president’s resignation Markarian said: “Changing the presidents is tied to the people’s will. He is changed by the people.”