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Former Ter-Petrosian Associate Joins Government


Armenia - Economist and opposition politician Vahagn Khachatrian speaks at a seminar in Yerevan, April 30, 2013

A longtime political ally of Levon Ter-Petrosian, a former president highly critical of Armenia’s current leadership, is among five new government ministers named by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian this week.

Vahagn Khachatrian was appointed as minister of high-tech industry as part of a Pashinian’s post-election cabinet reshuffle. He attended on Friday his first cabinet meeting chaired by the premier.

Speaking to journalists, Khachatrian said his ministry has a “very large role” to play in reforms planned or already implemented by the Armenian government. It must specifically foster “Armenia’s industrialization,” he said.

Khachatrian, 62, is an economist who had served as mayor of Yerevan from 1992-1996 during Ter-Petrosian’s rule. He remained loyal to Ter-Petrosian after the latter stepped down in 1998.

Khachatrian became a senior member of the Armenian National Congress (HAK) set up by the ex-president in 2008. At least until recently he remained affiliated with the party that participated in the June 20 parliamentary elections but failed to win any seats in the National Assembly.

Like other opposition groups, the HAK has blamed Pashinian for Armenia’s defeat in last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh. A spokesman for Ter-Petrosian has branded the prime minister as a “nation-destroying scourge” who will never be forgiven by the Armenian people.

During the recent election campaign Ter-Petrosian poured scorn on several current and former members of his political team who accepted in recent months senior positions offered by Pashinian.

Khachatrian refused to comment on the ex-president’s criticism. “I won’t respond because it’s Levon Ter-Petrosian,” he said.

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