Prosperous Armenia Party Minister Quits Under Pressure

Outgoing Labor and Social Affairs Minister Gevorg Petrosian (L) and his likely replacement Mkhitar Mnatsakanian

Outgoing Labor and Social Affairs Minister Gevorg Petrosian (L) and his likely replacement Mkhitar Mnatsakanian

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Labor and Social Affairs Minister Gevorg Petrosian has stepped down under pressure from his Prosperous Armenia Party which considers his six-month tenure to have been a failure.

Prosperous Armenia was granted control over the ministerial post after another major party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, pulled out of Armenia’s governing coalition in late April. Its leader, Gagik Tsarukian, has since reportedly grown disillusioned with Petrosian’s performance.

The 37-year-old minister claimed on Wednesday that he has tendered his resignation because of unspecified “health problems.” “That was definitely my personal decision,” he said. “Who would care about my health more than myself?”

However, Prosperous Armenia spokesman Khachik Galstian insisted that Petrosian quit because of failing to live up to the party’s and especially Tsarukian’s expectations. “Our minister is young,” Galstian told RFE/RL. “There was a certain lack of experience. The field was very difficult. In that sense, we acknowledge that his appointment has not proved justified.”

“The party is discussing the issue of nominating a new [ministerial] candidacy,” he said, adding that Petrosian will likely be replaced by Mkhitar Mnatsakanian, chairman of the Armenian parliament committee on human rights also affiliated with Prosperous Armenia.

Mnatsakanian previously managed a Red Cross rehabilitation center outside Yerevan and, according to Galstian, is more familiar with the social sphere. “We hope this be a more successful choice,” said the Prosperous Armenia spokesman.

Tsarukian’s party boasts the second largest faction in the National Assembly. It also controls the Armenian ministries of health, urban development, and sports and youth affairs.

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