By Hovannes Shoghikian
Tigran Sarkisian, the longtime chairman of the Central Bank of Armenia (CBA), was appointed as the country’s new prime minister on Wednesday.
President Serzh Sarkisian (no relation to Tigran) signed a relevant decree immediately after his inauguration and the formal resignation of the current Armenian government which he has headed since April last year. Its members will continue to perform their duties until the formation of a new cabinet.
The decree became a mere formality after the CBA chief’s candidacy was unanimously backed by the leadership of the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) on Tuesday. Tigran Sarkisian’s appointment was also approved the next day by the leaders of two other parties that will be represented in the new coalition government to be formed in the coming weeks.
Armen Rustamian of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) hailed Tigran Sarkisian as a “new figure” capable of introducing “changes that may be painful and may not be liked by everyone.” “In that sense, the choice of new prime minister bodes well for a new beginning,” he told RFE/RL.
Artur Baghdasarian, the leader of the Orinats Yerkir Party, said the CBA candidate was “one of the most acceptable candidates” for the job. “I think one of Tigran Sarkisian’s positive traits is his commitment to reforms,” he said.
Baghdasarian strongly criticized the CBA and its leadership during the recent presidential election campaign. In particular, he accused the bank of artificially boosting the value of the national currency, the dram, with the aim of enriching government-connected importers of fuel and basic foodstuffs.
Tigran Sarkisian refused to comment on the likely composition of his cabinet as he attended the presidential inauguration.