By Emil Danielyan
President Robert Kocharian on Thursday appointed a senior member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) as minister of science and education, giving the influential nationalist party a second cabinet portfolio.
The new minister, Levon Mkrtchian, already held the post in 1998-99. Mkrtchian served as a deputy foreign minister before the appointment. He thus became the second member of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s government affiliated with Dashnaktsutyun.
The leader of the party’s faction in the parliament, David Lokian, was named minister for urban development earlier this year. Another cabinet member, Culture Minister Roland Sharoyan, joined the executive in 1998 as a Dashnaktsutyun member but was expelled from the party last year over differences with its leadership.
Dashnaktsutyun, which also has branches in all major Armenian communities abroad, has supported Kocharian ever since he became president in April 1998. The party won a recent by-election to the Armenian parliament in the central Aragatsotn province, increasing to nine the number of its deputies in the 131-member National Assembly.