The recently appointed Defense Minister Vigen Sargsian has announced plans to join the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), citing the country’s ongoing transition to the parliamentary system of government.
“Given the changes made in our constitution, I think that non-partisan work in the political arena will be impossible from now on,” Sargsian told the heads of Armenian media outlets late on Tuesday.
“After all, we are entering a period where political parties will bear the main responsibility and play the main role under the parliamentary system of government. That is why I have made that decision,” he said, adding that he will formally apply for membership in the HHK “in the coming days.”
Sargsian, 41, was appointed defense minister just over a month ago as part of a government reshuffle initiated by President Serzh Sarkisian, who is also the HHK’s chairman. He previously worked as chief of the presidential staff.
Armenia’s new Prime Minister Karen Karapetian is also not affiliated with the ruling party. HHK representatives have not ruled out the possibility of Karapetian joining it ahead of a party congress slated for November 26.
The congress is due to discuss preparations for the April 2017 parliamentary elections. The HHK expects to retain control over the Armenian parliament.
The elections will take place one year before President Sarkisian completes his second and final term. He has still not clarified whether he will try to become prime minister or continue to strongly influence government policy in an unofficial capacity after April 2018.
The HHK spokesman, Eduard Sharmazanov, said last week that Sarkisian will lead the governing party for “many years” to come.