Party will hold three ministries and two regional government posts
YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation pledged to jointly confront “internal and external challenges” facing Armenia as they formalized a power-sharing deal on Wednesday.
An ARF leader, Aghvan Vartanian, confirmed after signing an “agreement on political cooperation” with the HHK that his party will get three ministerial posts and appoint two regional governors almost seven years after pulling out of Sarkisian’s coalition government.
Artsvik Minasian will become Armenia’s new minister of economy, while two other prominent ARF members, Davit Lokian and Levon Mkrtchian, will take over as ministers of local government and education respectively. ARF representatives will also run the northwestern Aragatsotn and Shirak provinces.
Mkrtchian, who has already held the cabinet post in the past, will replace Armen Ashotian, the outgoing education minister and a Republican Party deputy chairman who signed the agreement on behalf of the ruling party.
“This agreement marks the beginning of long-term political cooperation based on common values and joint goals and action plans,” Ashotian told the press after the signing ceremony held at the presidential palace in Yerevan and attended by Sarkisian.
The five-page agreement commits the two parties to democratizing Armenia, strengthening the rule of law, speeding up the country’s economic development, tackling corruption and improving broader governance. It makes clear that ARF, which holds 5 seats in the 131-member Armenian parliament, will share responsibility for all government policies.
ARF and Sarkisian’s party specifically pledged to ensure the conduct of democratic elections “credible to the public,” boosting legal safeguards for judicial independence, and setting up an “effective mechanism for combatting corruption.” They also pledged to “separate business from government” and pursue an “active ant-trust policy” on the economic front.
Under the framework accord, they will form a “cooperation council” that will serve as a forum for “regular inter-party contacts” and “exchange of views.” The council will meet on a regular basis.
“We believe that through this cooperation we can bring about the kind of change that our society will see and have positive expectations and more faith in the future,” Vartanian told reporters.
He repeated ARF’s main declared rationale for rejoining Sarkisian’s government: proper implementation of recently enacted constitutional changes envisaging Armenia’s transition to the parliamentary system of government. The party has strongly supported those changes, saying that they will help to address many of the country’s problems.