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A leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) rebuked Prime Minister Karen Karapetian on Friday for publicly criticizing a government minister affiliated with the influential party.

Karapetian triggered a tense verbal exchange with Economy Minister Artsvik Minasian on Thursday as he chaired his first cabinet meeting watched by journalists. He questioned Minasian’s request to grant a tax incentive to a private firm that had lodged a corresponding application with the Economy Ministry.

The newly appointed premier was unconvinced by further explanations given by Minasian. “I don’t believe it,” he stated bluntly.

Armen Rustamian, Dashnaktsutyun’s parliamentary leader, criticized Karapetian’s comments and voiced his party’s full support for Minasian. “We should refrain from steps corresponding to the logic of [political] shows or creating some impressions, which can be very short-lived,” said Rustamian. “It’s not a place where the prime minister has to believe or not believe.”

“It’s not the right place for testing faith,” he told a news conference. “It’s a government which is supposed to do concrete things and those concrete things either exist or do not exist.

“We fully trust Artsvik Minasian. He knows his field well, and if the prime minister doesn’t believe that he knows, let him become convinced.”

“If I were him, I would avoid using such words,” added the Dashnaktsutyun leader.

In line with the Armenian constitution, Minasian and all other ministers tendered their resignations immediately after Karapetian’s predecessor, Hovik Abrahamian stepped down late last week. But they will continue to perform their duties until Karapetian forms a new cabinet. It is still not known which incumbent ministers, if any, will retain their posts.

Minasian and the two other cabinet members, Territorial Administration Minister Davit Lokian and Education Minister Levon Mkrtchian, are affiliated with Dashnaktsutyun. They joined the government after Dashnaktsutyun signed a power-sharing agreement with President Serzh Sarkisian in February.

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