Former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian has voiced objections to his Prosperous Armenia Party’s decision not to nominate or endorse any presidential candidates but said he accepts it.
Writing on his Facebook page late on Thursday, Oskanian said the BHK’s decision announced on Wednesday “was not made easily” as there were “different opinions” within the leadership of Armenia’s second largest parliamentary party. He said the BHK took into account the existing political situation in the country and its leader Gagik Tsarukian’s refusal to run for president.
“Although I imagined our further steps and struggle in a different way, I respect the adopted decision,” added Oskanian.
Ever since joining Tsarukian’s party in February, Oskanian has been one of the most outspoken BHK critics of the Armenian government. He strongly supported the party’s withdrawal from the governing coalition in June and has since advocated its participation in the February 2013 presidential election.
In October, Oskanian was charged with financial impropriety after the pro-government majority in Armenia’s parliament lifted his immunity from prosecution. The former minister denies the charges as politically motivated, having accused the authorities of harassing him and the BHK ahead of the presidential election. The BHK leadership has likewise alleged “political persecution” by the authorities.
Oskanian expressed readiness to run for president on the BHK ticket immediately after being formally charged by the National Security Service.