No Decision Yet On Sarkissian’s Replacement

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan has not yet made a decision regarding the replacement of Prime Minister Armen Sarkissian’s post–presidential press secretary Levon Zourabian announced Monday. "Given the situation–the president will take the necessary steps laid out by the Constitution," explained Zourabian. The government spokesperson did not reveal when the president was expected to make a decision for a replacement. He did–however–clearly state that Armen Sarkissian’s resignation was accepted.

"The President regrets that Prime Minister’s health conditions prevent him from continuing his service. In a short period of time Armen Sarkissian has won popular confidence and admiration. His work had a promising start. This is why Armenia’s were shocked when he resigned," Zourabian said.

Zourabian did not specify whether Sarkissian’s resignation was indicative of any more resignations or dismissals in the cabinet. He only said that under the Constitution–the President appoints and dismisses the prime minister and other ministers.

In response to media questions–Zourabian stressed that the appointment of a new prime minister–would not change the country’s economic direction. According to Zourabian–President Levon Ter-Petrosyan will not deter from the establishment and structuring of a free-market economy and democracy–as "it is our ideology."

Armen Sarkissian was appointed Prime Minister last November and last Wednesday–he submitted his resignation to President Levon Ter-Petrosyan–citing health problems as reason for stepping down. During the past two years Sarkissian has undergone two thyroid surgeries in London.

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