Prime Minister Selection Delayed

YEREVAN (Armenpress–Fact) – Levon Ter-Petrosyan–Wednesday–held talks with representatives of the "Republic" bloc of the National Assembly regarding Prime Minister Armen Sarkissian’s resignation. Although Sarkissian rendered his resignation last week–Ter-Petrosyan has not yet formally approved it– thus creating tension in government circles.

Ter-Petrosyan’s press service informed the Fact news agency that at two different intervals Thursday–Ter-Petrosyan met with members of the Reform and Shamiram parliamentary blocs.

Ter-Petrosyan also invited the National Self-Determination Union and the National Democratic Union opposition parties–for discussion on the appointment of a new prime minister.

The press service did not provide information on Ter-Petrosyan’s dealings with the opposition regarding this matter.

The Fact news agency reported that the executive body of the NSDU convened a special session to address this issue and to prepare its agenda for such a meeting with Ter-Petrosyan.

The NSDU also stated that it would publicize its decision and also name a candidate it envisions would best perform the duties of prime minister.

Communist Party leader Sergey Badalian told Fact that it had accepted Ter-Petrosyan’s invitation and was scheduled to meet with him Thursday afternoon.

While NDU officials could not be reached for comment–sources close to the party stated that NDU officials would not meet with Ter-Petrosyan–since they question his legitimacy as leader.

According to presidential spokesperson Levon Zourabian–Ter-Petrosyan will take the necessary measure as laid out by the Constitution–however the time period was not cleared. According to media reports–there exists a possibility that Ter-Petrosyan may choose to combine his duties with that of the Prime Minister and defer appointing anyone to the position. Such a move will be deemed illegal–as the Constitution does not allow for the combination of the two offices.

According to the Constitution the President appoints and dismisses the Prime Minister (Article 55–Section 4)–calls and presides over government sessions–or assigns the prime minister to do it (Article 86)–but the Prime Minister is not the head of the executive body. The Constitution calls on the president to be the guarantor for due performance of responsibilities by legislative–executive and judicial bodies (Article 49). The Constitution also calls for the immediate appointment of a prime minister. Thus–the president combining the two positions does not meet the requiremen’s set forth in the Constitution.

Furthermore–de jure–Armen Sarkissian remains the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia– until further action by the Ter-Petrosyan.

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