Former Yerevan Mayor Nominated for Prime Minister as Sarkisian Pledges Sweeping Reforms
YEREVAN—The ruling Republican Party of Armenia, during its executive board meeting on Thursday nominated former Yerevan mayor Karen Karapetyan to replace the outgoing prime minister Hovik Abrahamian who resigned his post earlier Thursday. During the same party conference, President Serzh Sarkisian pledged sweeping government reforms saying “we have no right or time to slow down.”
The Republican Party of Armenia parliamentary faction member Artak Zakaryan confirmed Karapetyan’s unanimous nomination, telling reporters after the board meeting that Sarkisian had accepted Abrahamian’s resignation. Zakaryan added that Karapetyan, a member of the Republican Party and former employee of the Russian Gazporm presented his outlook for the government.
In his remarks at the Republican Party of Armenia board meeting, President Sarkisian said that Karapetyan would be capable of leading a huge wave of reforms and changes in Armenia and guide the country toward new economic and political freedoms, as well as break the deep-rooted division in Armenia.
“We are all well aware of Mr. Karapetyan’s abilities and working ethic,” said Sarkisian. “I am convinced Karen Karapetyan will be able to become that unique symbol of change by his effective work. He will be able to lead all the developments by the path defined by the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, that is to say, through modern approaches.”
Sarkisian also thanked Abrahamian for his years of service, saying that he will play a “pivotal” role in the party’s campaign for the 2017 parliamentary elections, confirming speculation that Abrahamian was poised to become the party’s campaign manager.
In his remarks, Sarkisian said that Armenia’s new Constitution, approved last year during a contentious referendum, provided the country a unique opportunity to modernize its form of government and would pave the way for political as well as economic reforms in Armenia.
“It has been apparent for a long time that without political reforms, economic reforms have not aleays yielded desirable results. Today, everyone can see the imperative for political reforms,” said Sarkisian, adding the political reforms, first and foremost, dictate a change in approaches to political discourse and to confronting challenges facing the nation.
He explained by saying that the political dialogue in the country must also change whereby discourse with opposition would not stem from a position of power and the government’s doors would be open to all capable individuals who are willing to work to confront issues facing the nation, adding that the “parliament must become the number one stage for the country.”
Sarkisian said changes in the political landscape of Armenia were not imperative because of pressure from external forces, but rather a necessity for the development of the country and the imperative to have a “better and secure homeland.”
“At the same time, I believe, we must not limit ourselves to resources within our ranks and for the resolution of issues before us we must seek and find individuals and people who are able and willing to shoulder responsibilities for the difficult tasks, regardless what part of the world they are,” said Sarkisian.