The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) said on Monday that it has accepted Prime Minister Karen Karapetian’s offer to give one of its senior members, Economy Minister Artsvik Minasian, a different cabinet post.
“In all likelihood, Mr. Minasian will occupy the post of environment minister,” Aghvan Vartanian, a leader of the party, told reporters.
Minasian said on Friday that he is willing to resign from the Economy Ministry because he disagrees with Karapetian’s plans to rename it the Ministry for Investments and Business Support. A draft law approved by the government over Minasian’s objections on Thursday would also split two divisions from that ministry.
The two men also had a tense verbal exchange on September 15 when Karapetian held the first cabinet meeting since his appointment as prime minister. Armen Rustamian, another Dashnaktsutyun leader, afterwards chided the new premier for organizing the “political show.”
Vartanian downplayed the friction, saying that Dashnaktsutyun supports Karapetian’s economic reform agenda and remains committed to its power-sharing deal with President Serzh Sarkisian signed in February.
In Vartanian’s words, Karapetian simply wants to replace Minasian by an individual with a stronger “business-oriented mindset.” “You all know that Artsvik Minasian has not dealt with business, and it’s only natural that the prime minister wants to form a team that could achieve economic objectives set by him,” he said.
Minasian’s new ministerial post will also be “very important,” added Vartanian.
Minasian and two other prominent Dashnaktsutyun figures became government ministers as a result of the February deal. It came almost seven years after the influential party pulled out of Sarkisian’s coalition government in protest against his policy of rapprochement with Turkey.
Vahram Baghdasarian, the parliamentary leader of Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), confirmed on Monday that Dashnaktsutyun will have three ministerial portfolios in Karapetian’s cabinet which should be formed by the end of this week.
Karapetian has so far picked only six ministers. Four of them are newcomers who will run the Armenian ministries of finance, agriculture, energy, and transport and communications.