YEREVAN (A.W.)—Businessman and founder of the Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) Gagik Tsarukyan announced on Jan. 17 that he will be returning to politics and participating in Armenia’s upcoming parliamentary elections. The announcement came a little more than a month after PAP chair and head of its parliamentary faction, Naria Zohrabyan told reporters about Tsarukyan’s plans to return.
“Considering the internal and external challenges that Armenia faces as well as the public demand for my return to politics, I declare that I am opening the closed page of my political activity and will participate in the upcoming 2017 parliamentary elections by forming a broad alliance,” Tsarukyan said in a speech broadcasted by Kentron TV—a station owned by Tsarukyan. “Following the events of Feb. 2015, I closed the page on my political activities so that there would be peace and fairness,” Tsarukyan added.
Tsarukyan went on to explain that was never politically involved for glory and the power. “Since my decision to leave the political arena, there has been no political figure that has been able to fill my role,” said Tsarukyan.
Tsarukyan then said that the current socioeconomic conditions in Armenia made him decide to return to politics. “I would have refrained from returning to politics if I were certain that our country was headed in the right direction—whether it be towards a developing economy or an increase in peoples’ welfare,” said Tsarukyan. “Unfortunately, we have large scale emigration, a weak and frail economy, a continued growth in poverty, high levels of unemployment, and a large number of people who are unsure of their future,” he added.
Tsarukyan stressed that he could not remain indifferent towards all the issues that citizens face, especially when many were urging his return. “Fellow party members from the PAP,members of other political parties, and representatives of various non-governmental organizations have appealed to me to return to political life because they are convinced that I will help solve this difficult situation,” Tsarukyan explained.
He concluded his remarks by discussing the importance of the upcoming elections and how has an ultimate duty to serve his people towards a much developed and stronger country.
Tsarukyan announced he would be stepping down as leader of the PAP and leaving politics on March 5, 2015, at an extraordinary party congress held in Yerevan. “I took a decision not to engage in active politics anymore and to resign as leader of PAP and head of the [party’s] parliamentary faction. It was not an easy decision, which was made after much consideration. Yet, it was my personal decision,” said Tsarukyan back in March 2015.
Tsarukyan’s withdrawal from politics came after a heated exchange of words with Armenian President Serge Sarkisian. The two met on Feb. 17, 2015 in a private meeting mediated by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF); afterwards, the PAP announced the cancellation of a planned rally against the administration.
The meeting came in the wake of rising tensions between the ruling regime and the PAP. Sarkisian criticized Tsarukyan at a Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) Council meeting on Feb. 12, 2015. After a session of the Executive Council of the PAP the following day, Tsarukyan responded to Sarkisian’s criticisms and called on the citizens of Armenia to “prepare for struggle.”