By Emil Danielyan
President Serzh Sarkisian on Friday appointed a veteran pro-government parliamentarian to manage a newly established government ministry in charge of Armenia’s relations with its worldwide Diaspora.
Those relations have until now been coordinated by an Armenian Foreign Ministry department. The government decided to turn it into a separate and larger agency earlier this month. The move had been widely anticipated since Sarkisian’s victory in the February 19 presidential election.
The new minister of Diaspora affairs, Hranush Hakobian, is one the longest-serving Armenian lawmakers and a member of the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). She has been close to the highest echelons of power in Yerevan since becoming the leader of the Armenian branch of the Soviet Union’s Communist Youth League in the mid-1980s.
Hakobian, 54, was elected to Armenia’s first post-Communist parliament in 1990 and, barring a two-year stint as social security minister in the administration of former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, has held a parliament seat since then. She chaired the National Assembly’s committee on science, education and culture before her latest appointment.
Hakobian will be the second female member of Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian’s cabinet.