Defense and national security will remain the top priority for President Serzh Sarkisian even after he serves out his final term next April, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) said on Wednesday.
Armen Rustamian commented on Sarkisian’s pledge on Tuesday to draw up a seven-year plan aimed at “modernizing” Armenia’s armed forces. Meeting with senior military officials in Yerevan, the head of state said that the plan will be officially adopted in January.
Rustamian, whose party is represented in the Armenian government by three ministers, insisted that there is nothing wrong with Sarkisian launching a major policy program less than three months before the end of his presidency, which will be followed by Armenia’s switch to the parliamentary system of government.
“Leaving [office] doesn’t mean vanishing,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “He is leaving but he will naturally maintain his active role. I am sure that whatever status Serzh Sarkisian has, defense and security will remain the number one issue in his life.”
“I have never heard Serzh Sarkisian say that he is going to leave the arena,” added Rustamian.
Sarkisian has still not clarified whether he plans to become prime minister or take up another post in April. His allies have said only that he will stay on chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK).
The HHK’s parliamentary leader, Vahram Baghdasarian, said on Wednesday in any case April 2018 will not spell the end of Sarkisian’s “duties to the fatherland.” “A commander-in-chief must think about his country’s future even on the last day [of his tenure,]” he said. “He can give meaningful orders even on the last day.”