Armenia’s ruling party has approved several major changes in the current government proposed by President Serzh Sarkisian and has named a candidate for the mayoral post in capital Yerevan that has remained vacant since its former holder’s scandalous resignation earlier this month.
At a meeting late on Thursday, the top decision-making body of the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) unanimously supported its leader’s suggestion to relieve Economy Minister Nerses Yeritsian of his duties and appoint current Finance Minister Tigran Davtian as his successor. According to another decision, Central Bank vice-governor Vache Gabrielian will succeed Davtian as finance minister.
The ministerial portfolios in question belong to the HHK under its power-sharing deal with two junior coalition partners.
Talking to RFE/RL’s Armenian service, HHK spokesman Edward Sharmazanov said the changes were aimed at “raising the efficiency of the government’s work.”
At Sarkisian’s suggestion the HHK Board also unanimously nominated Karen Karapetian, the current chief executive of the Armenian-Russian gas distribution company ArmRosGazprom, as the party’s candidate for Yerevan’s mayor ahead of the vote in the city’s elected body scheduled for Friday.
Karapetian was fifth on the HHK official ticket during the May 2009 municipal elections, but eventually preferred not to enter the Council of Elders despite the party’s landslide victory.
He is expected to win easily the Friday vote in the 65-member body dominated by the Republicans to succeed senior HHK member Gagik Beglarian who resigned as mayor on December 8 in a scandal sparked by his reported beating of an official from the presidential administration.
The HHK board also unanimously backed President Sarkisian’s nomination of Hrair Tovmasian as Armenia’s justice minister. The ministerial post has remained vacant since Sarkisian sacked Gevorg Danielian on December 9 for what the Armenian government described as his failure to punish one of his high-ranking subordinates allegedly involved in violent conduct.