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Ruling Party, Dashnaks Close To Coalition Deal


Armenia -- Dashnaktsutyun's Artsvik Minasian addresses a rally in Yerevan's Liberty square, 2May2012

Armenia -- Dashnaktsutyun's Artsvik Minasian addresses a rally in Yerevan's Liberty square, 2May2012

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) looked set on Thursday to receive two ministerial posts in Armenia’s government as a result of its power-sharing negotiations with President Serzh Sarkisian.

Sources in government circles said Artsvik Minasian, a parliament deputy and senior Dashnaktsutyun member, will be appointed by Sarkisian as economy minister, while another prominent party figure, Davit Lokian, will take over as minister for local government. Two other Dashnaktsutyun representatives will become provincial governors, according to the sources.

Eduard Sharmazanov, the spokesman for Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia, declined to confirm or refute the information. “Discussions with Dashnaktsutyun are not yet over,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).

Sharmazanov made clear that the ruling party is aiming for “long-term cooperation” with Dashnaktsutyun almost seven years after the latter pulled out of Armenia’s last governing coalition. He also lavished praise on Minasian, saying that the Dashnaktsutyun lawmaker would make a good minister.

“The country would benefit from that … The most important thing is that he is an honest man,” said Sharmazanov.

Sarkisian offered Dashnaktsutyun to rejoin the government last month after pushing through his controversial constitutional changes strongly backed by the pan-Armenian party. Under those amendments, Armenia will become a parliamentary republic after the president completes his final term in 2018.

Armen Rustamian, a Dashnaktsutyun leader, said last week that his party is ready to return to the government despite its belief that the country’s political leadership is “discredited” in the eyes of many Armenians. He said Dashnaktsutyun, which holds 5 seats in the 131-member parliament, will be in a position to improve the political and socioeconomic situation in Armenia.

By contrast, the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), another former junior partner in Sarkisian’s coalition government, has decided not to end its current opposition status. The BHK leader, Naira Zohrabian, said on Wednesday that a new coalition deal with the ruling HHK would not make sense because Armenia is due to hold parliamentary elections in May 2017.

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