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By Hrant Aleksanian in Stepanakert

Nagorno-Karabakh President Arkady Ghukasian reappointed Anushavan Danielian as the unrecognized republic’s prime minister on Monday, ending speculation about his dissatisfaction with the latter’s three-year track record.

The move followed Ghukasian’s weekend inauguration for a second five-year term in office. Speaking at the official ceremony, he vowed to strengthen Karabakh’s de facto independence from Azerbaijan and implement sweeping economic and political reforms. The Karabakh leader also announced that there will soon be “some structural changes in the executive government bodies” and promised to enhance the “presidential and parliamentary oversight” of the cabinet.

Under Karabakh law, Danielian has 30 days to submit a list of government members that will be subject to presidential approval. It is not clear whether he will propose major changes in the government’s make-up.

Leaders of the local branch of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), an influential pan-Armenian party, indicated in July that Ghukasian promised to give them top government posts in return for their decision to endorse his reelection bid. The move effectively predetermined the outcome of the Karabakh presidential election held on August 11.

So far Ghukasian has not publicly committed himself to ensuring Dashnaktsutyun’s representation in the Karabakh leadership for the first time in ten years.

Danielian was born in Georgia and spent many years in Ukraine. He was first named prime minister in June 1999 despite strong objections from then Defense Minister Samvel Babayan, the enclave’s most powerful man at the time. The appointment sparked a bitter power struggle between Babayan and Ghukasian, resulting in the latter’s victory at the beginning of 2000.
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