By Karine Kalantarian
Nagorno-Karabakh’s parliament formally agreed on Friday to the appointment of a local pro-government businessman and politician as the unrecognized republic’s new prime minister.
Arayik Harutiunian, whose Azat Hayrenik party has been represented in the Karabakh government since 2005, was unanimously backed by the National Assembly in Stepanakert after being nominated for the post by Bako Sahakian, Karabakh’s new president.
Sahakian was inaugurated as president in the presence of his predecessor Arkady Ghukasian, Armenia’s President Robert Kocharian and other Armenian leaders on September 7, about two months after his landslide victory in a presidential election. He is expected to formally appoint Harutiunian as prime minister within the next three days.
Under Karabakh law, Harutiunian will have 20 days to form his cabinet and another 20 days to submit its program to the local legislature.
Addressing the Karabakh parliament after the vote, Harutiunian said he is surrendering his parliament mandate and resigning as Azat Hayrenik chairman in order to be able to “thoroughly perform the prime minister’s duties.”
Azat Hayrenik won 12 of the 33 seats in the Karabakh parliament in the last legislative elections held in 2005. This allowed the party to become a junior partner in a new government formed by Ghukasian at the time.
(Photolur photo: Arayik Harutiunian.)