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‘Hovhannisyan And I Are Not Friends;’ Postanjyan on Her Exit From Opposition Party

Opposition parliamentarian Zaruhi Postanjyan on Monday announced that she was leaving the Zharangutyun (Heritage) party in protest against its leader Raffi Hovhannisyan’s decision to form an alliance with former Armenian defense minister Seyran Ohanyan and former foreign minister Vardan Oskanyan ahead of the April parliamentary elections in Armenia. During a Facebook press conference held on Tuesday by RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am), Postanjyan spoke about her motives for exiting the party and her future plans.

“It was indeed a very difficult decision, but it was not without its reasons. Zharangutyun is, in essence, currently rejecting its past and its original value system, and I was therefore forced to make such a decision,” Postanjyan said, answering Facebook users’ questions.

According to the oppositionist, she went to Zharangutyun as a lawyer at a time when the party’s office had illegally been closed down; “I was invited to represent Zharangutyun in various state institutions, to help the party to overcome its problems and ensure that it was again allowed to operate properly. We were subsequently able to achieve this, and I was offered a membership in the party. I accepted the offer because I believed in their ideas and shared their values. I thought I would achieve my dreams with Zharangutyun.”

One of the users asked Postanjyan whether she had not noticed that her party fellows had gone into a huddle with government representatives and agreed to leave her out of their further plans. “I may have made mistakes; maybe I should not have allowed the situation to get this far, but anyhow, I could not have done anything else at the time. I wanted to fight [for our values], I wanted to keep them from resorting to this step,” Postanjyan replied.

When answering a question regarding party leader Raffi Hovhannisyan’s reaction to her decision, Postanjyan said; “There has been none so far. But I assume that he had been wanting me to leave the Zharangutyun ranks. […] Hovhannisyan and I have long stopped being friends.”

The parliamentarian went on to say that currently she did not see a need to become a member of any political alliance or union; “I have already spoken about my visions, and although the party in which I used to hold a membership has ceased to be the bearer of its original value system, I will continue to fight for these ideas.” Postanjyan added that she did not intend to leave active politics and would soon let the public know about her future plans.

The parliamentarian was also asked about her stance on Hovhannisyan’s recent ally Seyran Ohanyan and his possible involvement in the deadly post-election unrest in 2008. “[Ohanyan] was a high-ranking state official at the time, and the March 1 events were related to massive violations of human rights. When you are a high-ranking government official and you fail to speak out about the issue, then you have your share of responsibility [for the consequences],” Postanjyan replied.

A user then inquired what Postanjyan would do if Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan were to offer her a position. “First of all, who is Serzh Sargsyan to offer anyone a position? I, personally, do not acknowledge him as a state official who is entitled to make any offers. I only know him as a criminal,” she stated.