YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) boosted its presence in Armenia’s government on Wednesday when President Robert Kocharian named one of its leaders minister of science and education.
Levon Mkrtchian–who has led the party’s parliament faction until now–replaced Sergo Yeritsian as a result of the Orinats Yerkir party’s expulsion from Kocharian’s ruling coalition.
Kocharian replaced Yeritsian despite his defection from Orinats Yerkir along with the two other ministers representing the party led by Artur Baghdasarian–the outgoing parliament speaker. He is expected to be given another–less important government post.
Orinats Yerkir has controlled the Armenian ministries of education–urban development–and culture under a power-sharing agreement which it had signed with Kocharian–the ARF–and Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s Republican Party (HHK) three years ago. The ARF had been given three other ministerial posts.
Mkrtchian–who already served as Education Minister in 1998-99 and 2001-03–emerged as the top contender for the job.
"The idea of taking over [the ministry] for a third time is not quite attractive to me–but I am the kind of person who complies with party discipline," said Mkrtchian on Tuesday.