by Ashot Safaryan
Next prime minister of Armenia will also be from the palace guard and the authorities will hardly yield any ministerial portfolio to the opposition, Alexander Iskandaryan, a political expert, Director of the Caucasus Institute, told reporters, Monday. He did name anyone as candidate for the prime minister's post, saying that rumors about probable successors of Tigran Sargsyan have flooded the press either to see the public response or because of poor awareness.
According to Iskandaryan, the Armenian opposition is weak today and it would be naive thinking that the president's decision to replace Tigran Sargsyan was a result of the systematic and targeted pressure by his opponents. Iskandaryan thinks the opposition heard about the prime minister's resignation from news reports. It was a surprise for the opposition.
As for the reasons that made the prime minister to step down, the political expert said it was the second Cabinet to last so long in the history of independent Armenia amid extremely heavy period of economic stagnation.
"It was not the very government to work till 2018. The moment to change the Cabinet was chosen for a reason, following all the possible elections and processes connected with Armenia's accession to the Customs Union," Iskandaryan said. The government could not be changed in the middle of those processes, as "one shouldn't change horses in the midstream." After all, he said, sacrificing the government is a widely practiced political technology.
To recall, on April 3 Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan stepped down during the meeting of the Supreme Body of the Republican Party of Armenia. President Serzh Sargsyan has accepted the resignation. In compliance with Article 55 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, President Serzh Sargsyan is to appoint a new prime minister within 10 days. Afterwards, the new staff of the Government will be formed within 20 days. All the ministers automatically become acting ministers before the new premier is appointed. It is widely rumored that the following officials are probable candidates to the prime minister's post: Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan, Orinats Yerkir Party Leader Arthur Baghdasaryan, Head of the President's Staff Vigen Sargsyan, and Deputy Prime Minister Armen Gevorgyan.