Sarkisian Rules Out Cabinet Changes Before Elections

By Gayane Danielian

Radio Liberty, Czech Rep.
April 6 2007

The newly appointed Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian indicated on Friday
that he will make no changes in Armenia’s interim government and will
let it operate until next month’s parliamentary elections.

"I don’t think there need to be serious changes in the composition
of the government as it will work for almost 40 more days, and our
key task is to ensure continuity in the government’s work," Sarkisian
said. "No changes are envisaged at the moment."

In accordance with the Armenian constitution, all members of the
current cabinet, including Sarkisian, tendered their resignation on
March 26, the day after the sudden death of Prime Minister Andranik
Markarian. President Robert Kocharian asked them to continue to
perform their duties until the formation of a new cabinet.

The constitution gives Sarkisian 20 days to select his ministers and
another 20 days to submit the new government’s program to the outgoing
National Assembly.

The 52-year-old premier, who has to step down immediately after the
May 12 elections, said the government will "send a program to the
National Assembly" but did not specify whether the legislature will
debate and vote on it before completing its four-year tenure. He is
widely expected to be re-appointed prime minister if his Republican
Party (HHK) wins the vote.

Making his first public appearance in the new capacity, Sarkisian
would not be drawn on he thinks should take up the vacant post of
defense minister which he has occupied for nearly seven years. "I
don’t want to make forecasts," he told journalists after attending
an annual meeting of members of Armenia’s National Academy of Sciences.

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