Prime Minister Karen Karapetian has moved to abolish one of the ministerial positions in his new cabinet which is being formed as a result of last month’s parliamentary elections.
A key committee of the newly elected National Assembly approved on Monday a government proposal to strip the chief of his staff of the status of a minister which was introduced in 2013 by then Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian.
The position has been held by Davit Harutiunian for the last three years. Harutiunian was appointed as minister of justice last week.
In separate decrees, President Serzh Sarkisian also appointed seven other ministers. All of them -- including Deputy Prime Minister Vache Gabrielian, Defense Minister Vigen Sargsian and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian -- held the same positions in Karapetian’s previous cabinet. The premier has not yet named the new chief of the government staff.
Hrayr Tovmasian, the chairman of the parliament committee on legal affairs, denied personal motives behind the proposed slight change in the government structure, which will almost certainly be accepted by the National Assembly on Tuesday. Tovmasian said that Karapetian simply thinks that the chief of his staff should no longer coordinate reforms carried by various government agencies.
“In this case, the prime minister has decided that he himself should assume this function and bear responsibility before the government,” Tovmasian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
The remaining ministerial vacancies are due to be filled in the coming days. Karapetian’s cabinet will then submit its policy program to the parliament for approval.