Sargsyan Appoints Advisers


YEREVAN (Armenpress–Noyan Tapan)–Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan issued a decree Wednesday appointing four advisers to the Prime Minister.

This comes a day after President Robert Kocharian issued a decree announcing the new cabinet.

The newly appointed advisers are Andranik Kocharian–Gagik Mardirossian–Levon Mkrtchian–Vladimir Movisian.

Also on Wednesday–Kocharian went to each ministry and–one-by-one introduced the newly appointed ministers to their staff and colleagues.

Three Former Prime Ministers in New Cabinet

An analysis of the new composition of the cabinet shows that the majority of the ministers have had vast experience of state work in general and the work in the government system in particular. The new government of Armenia includes three former prime ministers–two from Armenia and one from Nagorno Karabakh. They are Minister of Economy Armen Darbinian–who was prime minister in 1998-1999–Minister of Territorial Governance Khosrov Haroutiunian–who was prime minister in 1992-1993–and Minister for Urgent Affairs Leonard Petrossian–who was Karabakh’s prime minister in 1994-1998.

Four new members of the cabinet also have vast experience in state management. Minister of Education and Sciences Edward Kazarian served as chief of the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Education during the Soviet era and then as deputy minister at the same ministry in 1985-1987. Minister of Interior Souren Abrahamian began his work at the department for criminal proceedings of the Ministry of Interior of Soviet Armenia–in 1993-1995 he served as deputy Interior Minister of Armenia. Minister of Urban Development Hrair Hovhannissian was chairman of State Construction Office–then deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of Soviet Armenian–whereas Minister of Post and Telecommunications Rouben Tonoyan served as head of "Armsviazstroy" enterprise during Karen Demirchian’s tenure.

The old-timers of Vazgen Sargsyan’s government are the Minister of National Security Serge Sarkisian (since 1993)–Minister of Industrial Infrastructure Vahan Shirkhanian (since 1991)–Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian (since 1992)–Minister of Ecology Gevorg Vardanian (since 1990)–Minister of Agriculture Gagik Shahbazian (since 1991)–Energy Minister David Zadoyan (since 1993)–Minister of Privatization Pavel Ghaltakhchian (since 1991)–Minister of Finance Levon Barkhoudarian (since 1993). Chief of the government staff Shahen Karamanoukian–who was chief of staff of president Levon Ter-Petrosyan in 1991-1997–also has vast experience in state administration. New Defense Minister of Armenia Vagharshak Haroutiunian is not a fresh face in the new cabinet. In 1991 he was first deputy chairman of the Armenian Committee for Defense and since 1994 he has been representing the Armenian armed forces at the CIS Coordinating Headquarters for Military Cooperation.

Six ministers of the former government have also retained their portfolios. These include Minister of Health Care Hayk Nikoghossian–Minister of Justice David Haroutiunian–Minister of Industry & Trade Hayk Gevorkian–Minister for Culture–Sports and Youth Affairs Roland Sharoyan–Minister of Statistics–State Register and Analysis Stepan Mnatsakanian–and Minister of Transport Yervand Zakharian. Chief of the internal revenue service of Armenia Smbat Ayvazian was appointed minister of state revenues.

Three more members of the former government ex-Minister of Education and Sciences Levon Mkrtchian–ex-Minister of Agriculture Vladimir Movsissian and ex-Minister of Industrial Infrastructures Gagik Martirossian were appointed advisors to the prime minister.

Thus–only former chairman of the standing parliamentary committee for defense–national security and internal affairs and now minister of social welfare Razmik Martirossian is a genuine fresh face in the new cabinet as he has not held any posts within governmental structures before.

It is also worth noting that the current government–except for Vazgen Sargsyan–includes only 4 ministers affiliated with political parties–namely Roland Sharoyan (ARF)–Smbat Ayvazian (Republican Party)–Razmik Martirossian (Republican Party) and Rouben Tonoyan (People’s Party).

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