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Minister Quits Manukian’s AZhM


By Ruzanna Khachatrian

Armenia’s Minister for State Property David Vartanian has left the National Democratic Union (AZhM) following the most recent split within its ranks, the influential party’s leader Vazgen Manukian announced on Wednesday.

“The organizing committee [of the upcoming AZhM congress] invited David Vartanian but he said he is no longer a party member,” Manukian told RFE/RL.

Vartanian was widely accused of formenting last summer’s revolt against Manukian staged by the party’s pro-government wing. Several veteran leaders of eventually left the AZhM to form their own political organization. The controversial minister has so far not joined the new group, however.

The AZhM, the once leading opposition party weakened by a series of splits, will hold a congress on December 1 to ponder its future. Manukian sought to put a brave face on the events, saying that 90 percent of party members have remained loyal to him.
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