President Serzh Sarkisian warned Taron Markarian not to “disappoint” him and the electorate as the 33-year-old politician was sworn in as Yerevan’s new mayor on Friday.
“Taron, you have no right to disappoint us and your fellow citizens,” Sarkisian told him during the inauguration ceremony held in the Yerevan municipality. “We all stand by your side and are always ready to help and support you.”
“But as we know, assistance and support are very good things but every person, every state official must create his fate and work well by himself,” he said. “It is necessary to form a large team of like-minded people and continue to solve the most important challenge of all times facing Yerevan: to ease the plight of Yerevan residents and make Yerevan more comfortable for Yerevan residents and guests of our ancient capital.”
Markarian, who previously served as deputy mayor, was unanimously elected by the government-controlled municipal assembly to govern the Armenian capital earlier this week. He was nominated for the vacant post by Sarkisian.
The young mayor is a senior member of the president’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). His late father, Andranik Markarian, served as prime minister from 2000-2007.
Markarian’s predecessor, Karen Karapetian, unexpectedly stepped down late last month. He cited “personal reasons” for the move.
Three other high-ranking Armenian officials, notably parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian, resigned or were sacked shortly after Karapetian’s resignation. Analysts have attributed those changes to Sarkisian’s desire to cement his positions ahead of parliamentary elections due in May.
In his speech at Markarian’s inauguration ceremony, Sarkisian praised Karapetian’s less than one-year tenure, saying that the former mayor “managed to make his mark on the history of Yerevan.” But he did not comment on Karapetian’s resignation.