Education Minister Armen Ashotian on Friday pledged to invite opposition leaders and ask government loyalists “awkward” questions during a political talk show which he will start hosting on Armenian state television next week.
Ashotian, who is also a deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) said that he was offered to moderate the weekly program called “Triangle” by the management of the state-run Public Television.
“I would never think that I will be that person,” he told reporters. “I was ambivalent when I first heard about the idea.”
Ashotian said that the show will feature political figures representing a wide of parties, including those in opposition to President Serzh Sarkisian. He insisted that he will have no “black list” of oppositionists who cannot be its guests.
Ashotian, who has long been active in disseminating government messages through social media, bristled at suggestions that he cannot be an impartial TV host because of his government post and staunch support for Sarkisian.
“I’m sorry to hear that there are still people who do not perceive me as broad-minded. I’m a broad-minded person regardless of what positions I hold,” he said, promising to put “the most awkward questions” to all of his guests.
Ashotian acknowledged that the upcoming referendum on Sarkisian’s controversial constitutional changes will be a major topic of his first TV programs. Like a host of other senior government officials, the 40-year-old minister is a member of the central coordinating office of the HHK’s unfolding campaign for a “Yes” vote in the December 6 referendum. He said he will perform “mental work” in the “Yes” campaign but did not elaborate.