By Shake Avoyan
Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian introduced six new Cabinet members to their staffs on Monday visiting the ministries where new heads were placed in charge under the president’s decree late last week.
Thanking the former ministers for their work, Sarkisian welcomed the newly appointed members of his Republican Party-dominated Cabinet, including the ministers of health, urban development, youth affairs and sport, trade and economic development, justice, and environment.
He introduced all the six new ministers as “experienced in work and promising for the future.”
Sarkisian advised Gevork Danielian, who succeeds veteran Justice Minister David Harutiunian in office, to “change his glasses”.
“I wish you a success. I wish you to be able to replace your prosecutor’s glasses with ministerial glasses within a short period of time,” Sarkisian said, addressing the new minister, who had served in the prosecutorial system for many years.
Harutiunian, who had served as justice minister for a decade, admitted it was hard for him to depart from a place to which he had dedicated a big chunk of his life. “It is difficult to say good-bye to a staff among whom I’ve spent almost a fourth of my life,” he said, expressing a hope that the justice ministry will continue its work with excellence under the new head.
At the Ministry of Trade and Economic Development Premier Sarkisian introduced former Central Bank Board member Nerses Yeritsian, who comes to replace veteran minister Karen Chshmaritian.
“Since he was 25, the man [Nerses Yeritsian] had occupied the Bank’s Board member’s position. This is telling in itself,” Sarkisian said, praising the newly appointed young minister’s track record.
At the Environment Ministry, Vartan Ayvazian, who had led the sphere for six years, vacated his ministerial chair to former urban development minister Aram Harutiunian.
The former minister of health Norair Davidian, of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Dashnaktsutiun, who has been succeeded by Prosperous Armenia’s Harutiun Kushkian, received a gift -- a gold scalpel -- from his former staff.
“And what if Norik [Norair Davidian] had been the urban development minister? Would he have received a gold earth-moving machine then?” the prime minister joked at this presentation.
The other Cabinet members introduced by Sarkisian were newly appointed urban development minister Vartan Vartanian of the Prosperous Armenia his fellow partisan Armen Grigorian, who will be in charge of sport and youth affairs separated into a ministry due to the structural readjustment in the government.
President Robert Kocharian signed the order on establishing Armenia’s new government late on Friday. The new 17-member Cabinet reflects the spirit of the partnership agreements sealed by Armenia’s three leading parties earlier last week.
Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia, which swept to a landslide victory in last month’s parliamentary elections, has its members leading 11 ministries, with three ministries given to wealthy businessman Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia party and the traditionalist Armenian Revolutionary Federation Dashnaktsutyun, which came distant second and third in the polls.