Just over one month after winning Armenia’s parliamentary elections, President Serzh Sarkisian and his Republican Party (HHK) formally extended their power-sharing agreement with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) on Thursday.
Top representatives of the two parties, the HHK’s Armen Ashotian and Dashnaktsutyun’s Aghvan Vartanian, signed a relevant coalition deal at the presidential palace in Yerevan. Both Sarkisian and Prime Minister Karen Karapetian attended the signing ceremony.
The joint declaration calls for better governance and “new impetus to the fight against corruption” but says nothing about the government posts that will be given to Dashnaktsutyun as a result. Ashotian and Vartanian also declined to specify them when they held a joint news conference after the ceremony.
Dashnaktsutyun is represented in the current Armenian cabinet by Environment Minister Artsvik Minasian, Local Government Minister Davit Lokian and Education Minister Levon Mkrtchian. The three men said earlier this month that they will not take up their seats in the newly elected parliament, suggesting that they will retain their current posts.
Dashnaktsutyun received three ministerial portfolios as well as a number of other senior government posts line with a similar power-sharing agreement signed with the HHK in February 2016. The ruling party expressed readiness to extend that deal after the April 2 parliamentary elections in which it won 58 of the 105 parliament seats that were up for grabs. Dashnaktsutyun will control only 7 seats in the new National Assembly.
“This agreement will be valid during the entire tenure of the new parliament, namely until 2022,” Vartanian told reporters. He spoke of the two parties’ “joint resolve to effect radical and qualitative changes.” He singled out the need to boost the country’s security and speed up its economic development.
Vartanian claimed that Dashnaktsutyun’s year-long presence in the government has created “grounds for optimism” about such changes.
The new HHK-controlled parliament will hold its inaugural sitting on May 18. It will almost certainly give a vote of confidence to a new Armenian cabinet which is due to be formed soon. The HHK leadership has made clear that Karapetian will be reappointed as prime minister.