Armenia’s newly appointed Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian declined to shed light on the composition of his government and its policies on Monday after being formally introduced to outgoing ministers by President Serzh Sarkisian.
Sarkisian chaired the cabinet meeting the day after naming former Prime Minister Tirgran Sarkisian’s successor. Abrahamian urged the cabinet members to continue performing their duties “with greater vigor” until the formation of the new government before April 24.
“I’m going to cooperate with all political forces represented in the parliament, the civil society and expert circles. I’m going to listen to their opinions,” the new premier told reporters afterwards. “I’m going to be very open and transparent to everyone,” he said, adding vaguely that there will “all kinds of changes” in the executive.
Asked whether his cabinet will comprise members of political groups who challenged his predecessor, Abrahamian said, “The president of the republic is now negotiating with political forces represented in the National Assembly and we will jointly make decisions.”
The remarks suggest that President Sarkisian still hopes to cut a new power-sharing deal with the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the second largest parliamentary force that pulled out of the governing coalition two years ago. BHK representatives have insisted until now that a return to the government is “not on the agenda” of the influential party led by businessman Gagik Tsarukian.
Naira Zohrabian reaffirmed this stance on Monday. Ilur.am quoted her as warning that BHK members accepting ministerial or posts in the new government would be expelled from the party.
Abrahamian’s appointment is widely seen as an attempt to halt the BHK’s growing cooperation with radical opposition groups. The new premier has a close personal relationship with Tsarukian.
Abrahamian said that improving the economic situation in Armenia will be his top priority. “Time and resources are needed for that,” he said.
He declined to specify what economic policy changes he plans to initiate. Sarkisian stressed on Sunday that Abrahamian has committed himself to continuing economic reforms launched by his liberal predecessor.