Armenia had an interior ministry until former President Robert Kocharian abolished it and turned the police into a separate structure subordinate to him two decades ago. The police have reported to the prime minister since Kocharian’s successor, Serzh Sarkisian, completed the country’s transition to a parliamentary system of government in 2018.
The Armenian Ministry of Justice recommended the re-establishment of the interior ministry headed by a full-fledged cabinet member in a three-year strategy of police reforms proposed to the government in 2020. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian signaled his approval of the idea but did not rush to put it into practice.
The ministry revived the idea this summer before drafting a relevant bill. The government approved the bill on November 24.
The National Assembly controlled by the ruling Civil Contract party passed it in the second and final reading on Friday. The new ministry will comprise the national police, rescue and immigration services.
The Armenian Rescue Service is currently part of the Ministry of Emergencies. The ministry will be abolished as a result of the structural change.
Pashinian has not yet indicated whom he will appoint as interior minister. Armenian media reports have described the national police chief, Vahe Ghazarian, as a top candidate for the post.