Opposition MP gets hero’s welcome from supporters in Yerevan after challenging Prez Sargsyan in Strasbourg

Zaruhi Postanjyan, the opposition MP with the Heritage faction and member of the Armenian delegation to the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), arrived in Yerevan from Strasbourg on Saturday to a hero’s reception staged by scores of her political allies, supporters, friends and family.

Postanjyan has been at the center of a political scandal since Wednesday when during the plenary session at the PACE she posed a question to President Serzh Sargsyan, accusing him of being a chronic gambler and alleging that he had gambled away 70 million euros (about $95 million) in a European casino recently.

In his reply at the PACE Sargsyan categorically denied the allegation, describing it as “another product of her [Postanjyan’s] imagination”. His political allies at home branded Postanjyan’s act as ‘unpatriotic’, accusing her of ‘insulting the whole nation’ by her controversial question. Some of the hardliners even threatened to meet Postanjyan with protests and throw ‘eggs and tomatoes’ at her when she arrives at the Yerevan airport.

Through a spokesman on Friday President Sargsyan, however, urged his young loyalists not to stage any protest against Postanjyan.

People who gathered at Zvartnots Airport’s arrivals hall held flowers, balloons and Armenian tricolors as they came to greet Postanjyan.

In her remarks the opposition lawmaker said she only did what every Armenian should do in his or her place to make sure that people who have emigrated from the country come back.

Postanjyan still faces expulsion from the Armenian delegation to the PACE over her controversial question at the PACE that Parliament Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan on Thursday described as ‘slanderous’.

The Heritage party, meanwhile, issued a statement denouncing the ‘political persecution’ against Postanjyan, who has herself indicted that she is going to put up a legal fight if Speaker Abrahamyan decides to act upon his threat.