The director of a small provincial hospital has been unexpectedly sacked after her well-known husband affiliated with the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) was publicly accused of breaking party ranks ahead of a local election.
Sarkis Sahakian, the Republican governor of Armenia’s central Aragatsotn province, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) on Friday that Tamara Gevorgian was fired on Thursday because of mismanaging the hospital located in the provincial town of Talin. He said her “bad work” was exposed by a financial inspection conducted there.
Sahakian categorically denied any connection between the sacking and Sunday’s mayoral election in Talin contested by five candidates. One of them, Sarkis Aramian, was officially nominated by the ruling party.
The pre-term election was called after Talin’s previous mayor and Gevorgian’s husband, Mnatsakan Mnatsakanian, was elected to the Armenian parliament on the HHK ticket in May.
Officials at the local HHK branch say that Mnatsakanian has refused to support the HHK candidate for the vacant post and is campaigning for another pro-establishment hopeful, Vorosh Karapetian. They say the ex-mayor did not fall in line even after parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian visited Talin to discuss the pre-election tensions there late last month.
Mnatsakanian on Friday commented evasively on his alleged support for the non-HHK candidate. “I have no votes in my pockets to gift them to somebody,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Asked whether he feels that his wife lost her job because of his election stance, the ex-mayor said, “Nobody can exert pressure on me or punish me. This is especially true for the governor. The governor is too small to punish me.”
Commenting on the matter earlier this week, the HHK’s chief spokesman, deputy parliament speaker Eduard Sharmazanov, warned that all Republicans must comply with decisions made by the party leadership or face disciplinary action.