ARF Ministers Resign After Being Elected to Bureau

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–Armenia’s ministers of agriculture, labor and social security and education resigned Thursday after being elected to the Armenian Revolutionary Bureau Monday at the close of the party’s 30th World Congress.
Davit Lokian, Aghvan Vartianian and Levon Mkrtchian, who were appointed to the new cabinet last month as part of the ARF’s ministerial portfolio, were elected to the party’s governing body and vowed to resign their post.
"The World Congress surprised us by electing the [three] cabinet ministers to the Bureau," said ARF Bureau chairman Hrant Markarian at a press conference Tuesday, who added that the three have chosen to resign their ministerial posits. Three new ministers will be appointed
"Their resignation was their personal choice," said Markarian. "They figured that being a member of the Bureau is much more important than holding the post of minister."
Markarian insisted that the ARF ministers were not forced to quit by more than 100 congress delegates representing the party’s chapters in Armenia and all major Armenian communities abroad.
"I am 99 percent sure that had they not been elected bureau members such a thing would not have happened," he said. "Nobody prevented them from continuing to work as ministers," he added.
"I regret but at the same time agree with their decision," said Markarian. He added that their replacemen’s will be chosen in the coming days by the ARF Supreme Council of Armenia.
Delegates from more than 30 countries participated in the Armenian Revolutionary Federation World Congress, which concluded Monday The delegates discussed the party’s activities for the past four years, and adopted resolutions for the upcoming four years.
Markarian announced that the World Congress thoroughly discussed all the strategic issues facing the Armenian nation. At the conclusion of the World Congress a n new Bureau, which will govern the organization, was elected. The 11-person body is comprised on Hrant Markarian, Vahan Hovannesian, Aghvan Vartanian, Davit Lokian, Levon Mkrtchian, Vigen Baghumian, Mkrtich Mkrtchian, Hagop Der-Khatchadrian, Vicken Hovsepian, Haig Ohsagan and Mario Nalbandian.
In a speech that opened the ARF World congress last Wednesday, Markarian lashed out at opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian, saying that his post-election street protests were part of a Western plot to stage a "color revolution" in Armenia. He said the use of lethal force against Ter-Petrosian supporters protesting against the alleged falsification of the February 19 presidential election was therefore justified. He also said the ARF was right to remain part of a government which it strongly criticized during the election campaign.
He concluded the press conference by reading the World Congress announcement, which Asbarez will feature in future editions.

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