By Ruzanna Khachatrian
Prime Minister and President-elect Serzh Sarkisian pledged to effect “serious changes” in Armenia on Friday as he formalized a power-sharing agreement with three major political parties that have recognized his victory in last month’s presidential election.
Sarkisian and the leaders of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and the Orinats Yerkir Party said their coalition government will strive to “deepen democratic reforms” in the country and speed up its economic development.
A joint declaration signed by them laid out the main objectives of that government but said nothing about its composition. It remained unclear whom Sarkisian will appoint as prime minister after taking office on April 9. Artur Baghdasarian, the Orinats Yerkir Party leader, said discussions on the ministerial appointments are still going on.
“These changes will be large-scale,” Sarkisian said at the signing ceremony, outlining his coalition cabinet’s agenda. “They will be painful for many, many people. And in order to be able to implement these changes in full, we need serious public support.”
“We must strive to live up to the people’s expectations and create conditions for work, education and a prosperous life,” Gagik Tsarukian, the BHK leader, said for his part.
The four-party declaration called for the strengthening of the rule of, freedom of speech and human rights protection, a “substantial increase in public trust in electoral processes,” and a “comprehensive and effective fight against corruption.” The Sarkisian-led coalition also committed itself to significantly boosting living standards in Armenia through job creation and improved business competition.
The BHK and Dashnaktsutyun are already represented in Armenia’s current government, while Orinats Yerkir was in opposition to the country’s leadership until now. Baghdasarian was a major opposition candidate in the February 19 election and strongly criticized government policies during the election campaign.