Prime Minister Karen Karapetian received a further boost on Thursday when he officially became the number two figure in the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK).
The HHK’s governing body appointed Karapetian as first deputy chairman of the party at a weekly meeting chaired by President Serzh Sarkisian. It also named three vice-chairmen, including parliament speaker Galust Sahakian, who will be technically subordinate to the premier in the party hierarchy.
The HHK introduced the post of first vice-chairman at a November 26 congress in Yerevan held more than two months after Sarkisian appointed Karapetian as prime minister with the declared aim of accelerating economic reforms in the country. A party spokesman said in early December that Karapetian is the “most likely candidate” for the new role.
In a speech at the HHK congress, Sarkisian made clear that Karapetian will stay on as prime minister if the party wins the April 2 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.