President Serzh Sarkisian appointed Gagik Tsarukian, a businessman and a key partner in his governing coalition, as a member of Armenia’s National Security Council on Friday.
The appointment was announced two months after Tsarukian and his Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) pledged to support Sarkisian in the next presidential election due in 2013.
In a statement, Sarkisian’s press office said Tsarukian will join the body advising the Armenian president on national security issues in his capacity as the leader of the BHK’s faction in parliament. It gave no reasons for the appointment.
The National Security Council is headed by Sarkisian. Its secretary is Artur Baghdasarian, the leader of Orinats Yerkir, the third party represented in Sarkisian’s coalition body.
In a February 17 declaration signed with Sarkisian, Tsarukian and Baghdasarian pledged to campaign for the incumbent president’s reelection. The three men also said their parties will not seek to change “correlation of forces within the Coalition” in parliamentary elections slated for May 2012.
The deal was signed after months of foot dragging by Tsarukian. The BHK until then did not rule out the possibility of fielding its own presidential candidate.
The National Security Council also comprises parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian, Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian, the Armenian ministers of foreign affairs, defense and local government, Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian as well as the chiefs of the Armenian police and the National Security Council.
The council joined by Tsarukian held a meeting later on Friday. According to the presidential press office, it discussed a new food security strategy for Armenia, a multimillion-dollar national highway project and a reform of the country’s tax and customs services planned for 2011-2013.