Former Prime Minister Karen Karapetian has decided to resign as first deputy chairman of the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), it was announced on Tuesday.
The HHK spokesman, Eduard Sharmazanov, said Karapetian feels that he must resign from the party leadership because he is no longer “actively involved in political processes.”
“I find that very normal,” Sharmazanov told reporters. “Karen Karapetian is a mature politician. It’s up to him to decide whether or not to be the first deputy chairman. I respect that decision by Karen Karapetian.”
Asked whether Karapetian will also end his membership in the HHK altogether, Sharmazanov said: “There is no such decision at this point. There has been no talk of leaving the party.”
Karapetian took up the number two position in the HHK hierarchy in November 2016 two months after then President Serzh Sarkisian appointed him as Armenia’s prime minister. He ran the government until Sarkisian served out his final presidential term and controversially became prime minister on April 17.
Karapetian remained in government as first deputy prime minister serving under a new, parliamentary system of government. The former business executive took over as acting prime minister on April 23 immediately after Sarkisian resigned amid mass protests against his continued rule.
The HHK-controlled parliament reluctantly chose the protest leader, Nikol Pashinian, as the country’s new leader on May 8. Karapetian has made no public statements since then. Some Armenian media outlets have claimed that he is considering setting up his own party.
In Sharmazanov’s words, it is not yet known whom the party, still headed by Sarkisian, will pick as its new first deputy chairman.
Earlier this month, the HHK lost its majority in the parliament following a series of defections from its ranks.