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Armenian PM Warns Against Challenging Ruling Party


Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian talks to the press on October 26.

Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian talks to the press on October 26.

YEREVAN -- Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian says the ruling Republican Party (HHK) intends to increase its dominance in domestic politics and it would be wrong for anyone to challenge it, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

"Those parties that will cooperate with us will benefit from that [dominance] while those that will not will end up empty-handed," Sarkisian told journalists. "I want to warn those spreading rumors about the Republican Party that they are badly mistaken in assessing our capacity."

He added that "the Republican Party is today the strongest political force in Armenia and it will not only retain its positions but also strengthen them. Therefore, I think that we must convey this message from our party to our partners, our public."

Sarkisian did not clarify whether the warning is primarily addressed to opposition forces or the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the HHK's main partner in the ruling coalition.

BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian fuelled renewed talk of discord within the coalition earlier this month when he pointedly declined to voice support for plans by HHK leader and President Serzh Sarkisian (no relation to the prime minister) to win a second term in 2013.

Tsarukian commented on the 2013 presidential election just days after former President Robert Kocharian dropped hints about his possible return to active politics.

Reports in the Armenian press have claimed in recent weeks that Tsarukian is under strong pressure from the presidential administration to endorse Sarkisian's reelection as president. HHK officials have implicitly denied those reports.

Tsarukian already committed himself to supporting the incumbent president in a joint declaration signed with Serzh Sarkisian in February.

Tigran Sarkisian mentioned that declaration on October 26, saying, "We are united around the president of the republic."
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