ARF Ready to Assume Responsibility in All Sectors of Government

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan–RFE/RL)–The head of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) faction in Armenia’s Parliament Levon Mkrtchian–said that his party is ready to assume a variety of responsibilities in the government–and expects that the coalition government partners (ARF–Republican Party–Orinats Yerkir) will soon agree on the specifics of distribution of posts.

Mkrtchian’s statement was delivered at a press briefing on Thursday–after Prime Minister Antranig Markarian and his Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) agreed to give more high-ranking government posts to their two coalition partners.

The Orinats Yerkir and the ARF parties–which have three ministers each in Markarian’s cabinet–have asked that the posts of deputy minister–department head and deputy governor also be distributed on the partisan basis. The Republicans–who control many of the so-called "discretionary" positions–were until now opposed to the idea–arguing that partisan appointmen’s would damage good governance. Markarian said that some of the discretionary posts will be offered to the coalition parties–stressing that only those officials whose performance is deemed "unsatisfactory" will be replaced by Orinats Yerkir and ARF nominees.

ARF and Orinats Yerkir leaders said that they would soon submit vice-ministerial candidacies to the coalition’s coordinating board.

"We believe that all coalition parties must be represented at the discretionary level as well. We must have certain levers to share responsibility," said Mkrtchian:

Mkrtchian stressed that no fundamental differences exist within the coalition–only differences of opinions and approach–"That can be overcome through negotiations," he added.


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