YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–President Robert Kocharian has appointed a close ally of Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan as mayor of Yerevan–a senior government official said on Monday. The official told RFE/RL that Albert Bazeyan–a deputy speaker of parliament and the number two figure in Sargsyan’s Yerkrapah Union of Karabakh war veterans–will take up the crucial post which has been vacant since the recent government reshuffle.
Bazeyan told reporters on Tuesday that he has received such an offer from Sargsyan and accepted it. According to the Armenian constitution–the mayor of Yerevan is appointed by the head of state on the prime minister’s recommendation.
Other government sources told RFE/RL that Kocharian’s decree on Bazeyan’s appointment has already been signed but would not say when it will be made public.
A presidential decree in Armenia takes effect immediately after its official promulgation. The previous mayor–Suren Abrahamian–was named interior minister in early June after Sargsyan’s Unity alliance swept to a landslide victory in the May parliamentary elections.
A former boxer and lecturer at the Yerevan Institute of Physical Training–Bazeyan–who is 43–was a field commander during the war over Nagorno-Karabakh in which he was seriously wounded in 1992. Bazeyan was also a leading figure in the Yerkrapah faction of the previous Armenian parliament.