President Serzh Sarkisian on Tuesday appointed the first six members of Armenia’s new government which is being formed by Prime Minister Karen Karapetian.
Four of them are new figures that have not held ministerial positions in the past. They will run the Armenian ministries of finance, energy, agriculture, and transport and communications.
The newly appointed Finance Minister Vartan Aramian was until now the first deputy chief of Sarkisian’s staff. He had previously worked as deputy finance minister.
The new Agriculture Minister Ignati Arakelian, Energy Minister Ashot Manukian and Transport and Communications Minister Vahan Martirosian are also technocrats, having held senior executive positions in enterprises involved in their respective new areas of responsibility.
The two members of the outgoing Armenian cabinet who retained their posts are Deputy Prime Minister Vache Gabrielian and Davit Harutiunian, the chief of the government staff who has a ministerial rank. Gabrielian will also continue to serve as minister for international economic integration and reforms.
Sarkisian has not yet named other members of Karapetian’s cabinet. It thus remains to be seen whether Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian will be re-appointed. There have been conflicting reports about Nalbandian’s and Ohanian’s political future since Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian resigned on September 8.
Sarkisian stressed the importance of speeding up economic reforms in Armenia when he announced his decision to replace Abrahamian by Karapetian later on that day. The president singled out the need to improve Armenia’s business environment.
Speaking in the National Assembly on September 14, Karapetian said that he will embark on “systemic changes” to try to improve what he called a “very grave” economic situation in the country. The new premier his government’s key economic priority will be to put in place “maximally favorable conditions for those who create added value.”