By Ruzanna Khachatrian
A leading member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) was elected deputy speaker of parliament on Tuesday in line with the nationalist party’s power-sharing agreement with President Serzh Sarkisian.
The position had been vacant since the recent resignation of Vahan Hovannisian, its previous holder and another Dashnaktsutyun leader. Hovannisian attributed the move to his poor showing in the February 19 presidential election. “I tried to convince our citizens that victory is possible. I failed,” he said in a February 22 statement.
According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), Hovannisian finished fourth in the race with only 6.2 percent of the vote, or way below his party’s expectations.
In his statement, Hovannisian also called the election deeply flawed, citing widespread vote buying, violence in some polling stations, ballot-stuffing and other violations. But that did not prevent Dashnaktsutyun from subsequently recognizing the legitimacy of Sarkisian’s election win and agreeing to stay in government. As a result, the party retained control of the Armenian ministries of agriculture, education and social affairs as well as the posts of deputy parliament speaker and chairman of the parliament committee on foreign relations.
Hovannisian’s successor, Hrayr Karapetian, was elected vice-speaker by 97 votes to 1. Karapetian, 45, has been a member of the National Assembly since 2003. He previously served as governor of the central Aragatsotn region.
(Photolur photo: Hrayr Karapetian.)