The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) has given a positive assessment of Prime Minister Karen Karapetian’s one-year tenure, saying that his cabinet has sped up economic growth and attracted substantial investments.
The HHK’s governing board headed by President Serzh Sarkisian discussed Karapetian’s and his cabinet’s track record at a weekly meeting held late on Thursday.
“The party positively evaluates one-year activities of Karapetian’s cabinet, the coalition government of the Republicans and Dashnaktsutyun,” the HHK spokesman, Eduard Sharmazanov, said after the meeting.
Sharmazanov cited official statistics showing that the Armenian economy grew by roughly 5 percent in the first half of this year after all but falling into recession in 2016. He also pointed to double-digit increases in Armenian exports and the number of foreign tourists visiting the country.
“This dynamic shows that the government will meet [macroeconomic] targets set in the  state budget,” he told reporters.
Sharmazanov further insisted that Karapetian is on track to honor his repeated pledges to help launch business projects worth at least $830 million this year. He said the resulting investments will include government funding but did not go into details.
Karapetian made similar arguments when he defended his yearlong performance in the Armenian parliament on Wednesday.
Opposition politicians and other critics of the government dismiss the improved macroeconomic figures, saying that they have had no real tangible impact on Armenia’s population. They also remain highly skeptical about Karapetian’s reform pledges.
The 54-year-old former business executive was tasked with easing socioeconomic hardship in the country when Sarkisian appointed him as prime minister in September last year. He pledged to embark on wide-ranging reforms that would improve the domestic business environment.
Karapetian has repeatedly indicated his desire to stay on as prime minister after Sarkisian serves out his final presidential term in April. The president has still not clarified whether he plans to become prime minister or replace Karapetian with someone else. He said in late June that the premier continues to enjoy his “full trust.”