United Labor Party Joins Armenian Coalition

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The United Labor Party (MAK) joined Armenia’s governing coalition on Monday–replacing the Orinats Yerkir party whose leader–parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian–formally tendered his resignation to fellow legislators.

The United Labor Party (MAK) was given the post of culture minister and three other senior government positions in return for lending support to the cabinet of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian. Under the power-sharing deal–MAK will also name the new chairman of the Armenian parliament committee on defense and security.

The party was offered to join the coalition despite having the smallest faction in Parliament–which holds only six of out its 131 seats.

Though not formally affiliated with the MAK–Armenia’s new culture minister–Hasmik Poghosian–is known to have close links with its leader Gurgen Arsenian. Poghosian led a non-governmental organization promoting cultural ties with the outside world before her appointment–which was endorsed by Kocharian.

Three other MAK nominees were appointed to the posts of deputy minister of labor and social affairs and deputy governor of the northern Shirak and Lori regions. All three jobs were previously held by Orinats Yerkir members.

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