Armen Gevorgian, Armenia’s deputy prime minister close to former President Robert Kocharian, on Friday denied having extensive business interests and expressed his desire to join President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK).
“My activities of the past 12 years in the state system have been very closely connected with the Republican Party of Armenia,” he said. “And my activities of the last two years directly stem from the Republican Party’s activities.”
“So it would be logical for my future activities to remain connected with the Republican Party,” Gevorgian told a news conference. “When there is a decision to formalize that relationship in the form of membership I will certainly inform you.”
Gevorgian added that the issue of his HHK membership was “raised” at a recent congress of the ruling party but that “no final decision has been made yet.” He did not elaborate.
The HHK was already joined by Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian and a dozen other senior government officials close to him late last year. Local observers construed the development as an expression of President Sarkisian’s unwavering support for his prime minister.
Some Armenian newspapers critical of the government claimed at the time that parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian has set his sights on the posts of prime minister and even president and has teamed up with businessman Gagik Tsarukian for that purpose. Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) is a junior partner in the country’s governing coalition. The BHK was widely seen as a brainchild of Kocharian when Tsarukian founded it in 2005.
Gevorgian, 36, was one of Kocharian’s closest confidantes throughout the latter’s decade-long rule. He managed the presidential administration before being appointed deputy prime minister and minister for local government by Sarkisian in April 2008.
Gevorgian is believed to have gained substantial political and economic clout during Kocharian’s presidency. Opposition media for years accused him of ensuring privileged government treatment for some wealthy entrepreneurs and thereby enriching himself.
Gevorgian again dismissed those allegations on Friday. “I once again state that I have and don’t plan to have shares or businesses that are sponsored or overseen or controlled by Armen Gevorgian,” he said.