By Ruzanna Stepanian
Urban Development Minister Ara Aramian stepped down on Friday following the scandalous arrest of his son accused of involvement in a high-profile gunfight in a Yerevan café earlier this month.
“Given the artificial uproar [over the incident] that could damage the reputation of the country’s leadership, my party and myself, I find it ethical to resign,” he told RFE/RL.
Aramian denied that the decision was taken under pressure from his Orinats Yerkir Party which has been coping with the political fallout from the shooting. The party’s leader, parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian, promised to “draw cadre conclusions” on Wednesday.
The arrest of the 24-year-old Hayk Aramian was announced by prosecutors on Monday. He was charged with an attempted murder and illegal arms possession. Aramian was among at least five men wounded in the apparent settling of score.
His father effectively denied the charges. “My son never carried weapons, drank or smoke in
his life. He has always been a benchmark for his friends,” he said.
According to media reports, relatives of other senior government officials also took part in the gunfight. It broke out while the presidents of Armenia and Georgia dined at a next-door jazz club.