By Shakeh Avoyan
The Armenian government allocated on Thursday state funding for the newly established office of former President Robert Kocharian.
The decision stemmed from an Armenian law that obligates the government to provide former heads of states with furnished office space and finance other expenditures incurred by their offices. Kocharian’s predecessor, Levon Ter-Petrosian, has used that legal provision to maintain a small office in downtown Yerevan for the past ten years.
Kocharian’s 374 square-meter office will be located in a newly renovated hotel in the city center and will cost the state 2 million drams ($6,600) in rent each year. The government will also underwrite the purchase of office equipment worth 17.7 million drams. It had earlier approved 4 million drams for other office needs.
The law in question also entitles ex-presidents to an annual state pension of 3.84 million drams ($12,600).
Kocharian has kept a low profile since completing his second and final term in office in April. It is not yet known whether he plans to engage in political activities.
A key member of the Kocharian administration, former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, set up recently a private think-tank which he said will seek to promote Armenia’s democratic development and greater domestic and international awareness of Armenian foreign policy.