By Emil Danielyan
President Robert Kocharian replaced on Tuesday Yerevan’s Mayor Robert Nazarian by another top government official, in a move widely attributed to the results of the recent parliamentary elections.
Nazarian’s successor, Yervand Zakharian, worked as the head of the Armenian government’s tax collection agency and held other ministerial posts before the appointment. He was in turn replaced by a senior member of the presidential staff, Felix Tsolakian.
In another decree, Kocharian appointed Nazarian as chairman of a special state commission regulating public utilities and other “natural monopolies,” including the Greek-owned ArmenTel telecommunications operator.
The reshuffle has been anticipated since the announcement of the official results of the May 25 polls in which a pro-Kocharian party led by Nazarian fared poorly, failing to win any parliament seats. The party, called Hzor Hayrenik (Powerful Fatherland), garnered only 3 percent of the vote, according to the official figures.
Nazarian’s sacking and appointment to a less significant post appears to have been predetermined by the election outcome. Nazarian reportedly went on vacation two weeks ago, suggesting that he had been informed of Kocharian’s decision in advance. He had served as Yerevan mayor since January 2001.
(Photolur photo: Yervand Zakharian)