Prime Minister Karen Karapetian is likely to become the official number two figure in the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), it emerged late on Thursday.
The HHK, which is headed by President Serzh Sarkisian, has had several deputy chairmen until now. The party decided at a November 26 congress in Yerevan that one of them will have the status of first deputy chairman. Its decision-making Council will meet later this month to fill these leadership positions.
“Right now Prime Minister Karen Karapetian is the most likely candidate for the post of first deputy chairman,” HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov told reporters.
The appointment would strengthen the politically inexperienced premier’s positions in government.
In a speech at the HHK congress, Sarkisian made clear that Karapetian, who was appointed prime minister in September, will continue to head the cabinet if the party wins next April’s parliamentary elections. But the president would not say whether he plans to replace Karapetian after completing his second and final term in April 2018.
A former business executive, Karapetian as well as four new ministers handpicked by him joined the HHK just days before the congress. Explaining the move, Karapetian said that Armenia’s recently reshuffled government needs to have a strong power base in order to follow through on sweeping economic reforms promised by him.
“The Republican Party remains the force that sets the political agenda in Armenia, as a result of which we are going to achieve positive changes expected in all areas of public life” said Sharmazanov.