Prime Minister Karen Karapetian dismissed on Monday lingering speculation about his mounting tensions with President Serzh Sarkisian, saying that their relationship is “very good, respectful and businesslike.”
“That’s not true,” he told reporters when asked about his alleged discord with Sarkisian.
Accordingly, Karapetian made clear that he does not intend to resign. He also stood by his previous statements indicating that he would like to retain his post after the president serves out his final term in April next year.
“Nothing has changed … My previous answers haven’t changed,” the premier said after attending, together with Sarkisian and other top state officials, the inauguration of Yerevan’s newly reelected Mayor Taron Markarian.
A number of Armenian media outlets and commentators have speculated in recent weeks that Sarkisian plans to become prime minister or replace Karapetian by someone else in April 2018. Some of them have claimed that Karapetian will resign or be sacked before that time because of his worsening relationship with the president. The Yerevan daily “Zhoghovurd” reported on June 6 that Karapetian has already twice tendered his resignation and that Sarkisian has refused to accept it.
The president dismissed those rumors later on June 6. “The prime minister has no reason to resign,” Sarkisian said in rare comments to Armenian journalists. “Periodical reports about alleged differences or a confrontation are untrue.”
Sarkisian appointed Karapetian as prime minister in September last year with the stated aim of improving the socioeconomic situation in Armenia through more radical reforms. The 53-year-old former business executive has since repeatedly pledged to create a level playing field for all businesses, combat corruption and tax evasion, and attract large-scale investments in the Armenian economy.