Bagratian Establishes Own Party

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenia’s former prime minister–Hrant Bagratian–announced his intention for establishing his own political party which will be called the "Liberty" Party. The Party’s main objective would be to protect business-owners’ rights.

Bagratian was deputy prime minister and economy minister until 1990–and from Feb. 1993 to Nov. 1996–served as Armenia’s Prime Minister. Bagratian is viewed as the principal ideologist of fundamental economic reforms in Armenia. After stepping down from his position as prime minister last November–Bagratian said he would not run for any other political office. Currently–he is an expert on Russia for the International Monetary Fund.

The platform of the Party was scheduled to be published in a new newspaper titled "Menk Plus" (We Plus). The Editor-in-chief–Martin Ourikhanian–was Bagratian’s former government spokesman during his last years in office.

Bagratian’s interview published in the newspaper’s first issue contained a statement saying that Armenia’s statehood may collapse unless privatization becomes stronger to protect itself from bureaucratic interference. In the interview–Bagratian also says that the election institution was destroyed in Armenia following last year’s municipal elections on Nov. 10. Bagratian also said that it is necessary to amend Armenia’s Constitution.

Those members of the ruling Armenian National Movement Party who had recently voiced their discontent with the policies pursued by their party leaders (such as Edward Yegorian and David Shahnazarian) said they will have nothing to do with the new party.

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