Joining Ranks: Prime Minister’s move to RPA seen as falling into line

Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan’s becoming a Republican early this week has stirred the political circles in Armenia. Eduard Sharmazanov, press secretary of the Republican Party of Armenia said Sargsyan “is a part of a political team and has taken the step as he felt appropriate”.

The premier has not yet commented on his decision to join the party after years of no party affiliation. Others, though, speculate on the move while some use it as a target.

Coordinator of the (oppositional) Armenian National Congress’s central headquarters Levon Zurabyan says that joining the party is part of Sargsyan’s rites of passage into a “Mafioso government”.

Political analyst Yervand Bozoyan told ArmeniaNow that there was certain dissatisfaction among the party itself on why the Prime Minister was not becoming a Republican.
“And if the Prime Minister is one of them, the authorities, certainly, feel stronger,” says Bozoyan.

In 1994 Sargsyan was a member of the National Democratic Union (NDU) party board, however, after assuming the chairman’s position of the Central Bank of Armenia in 1998 he dropped his NDU membership and had no other party affiliation.

According to director of Politeconomia research center Andranik Tevanyan, the Prime Minister’s step is conditioned by several factors among which were securing his post.

“Tigran Sargsyan is dear to the president, because to Serzh Sargsyan he is the best tool in hyper-centralizing the economy. The next factor is that the same president is dividing power among several structures in the government in order to rule them easier, based on the divide and rule principle,” Tevanyan told ArmeniaNow.

According to him, personal trust is also an issue to the authorities, and Tigran Sargsyan was left out of the “party team”.

Heritage party member Armen Martirosyan told ArmeniaNow: “I believe that a person becomes a member of this or that party when they start believing in the ideology of that party.”