Armenian Government Returns Former Presidential Palace to President

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YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — The Armenian government on Thursday, November 8, drafted an amendment that will restore the former presidential palace in Yerevan back to the president.

After a constitutional reform carried out during the previous administration, curtailing the powers of the president in favor of the prime minister, former President Serzh Sargsyan continued to occupy the building located in 26 Baghramyan Avenue even after becoming Armenia’s prime minister on April 17.

In line with a controversial law enacted before that, the prime minister would also have a second official seat located in the central government offices in Republic Square.

Armenia’s newly elected President Armen Sarkissian, meanwhile, was given a less sumptuous official seat in another location in central Yerevan.

Some two months after unseating Sargsyan and becoming prime minister Nikol Pashinyan pledged that he and his staff would eventually vacate the building that was used as a presidential office for decades and would return it to the president.

Pashinyan, who had criticized his predecessor’s decision to convert the presidential palace into the prime minister’s main office, explained then that he could not relocate immediately because such a move would require certain legal procedures.

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During an event marking Armenia’s Independence Day on September 21 the gates to the former Presidential Palace’s spacious yard were opened and Pashinyan declared the place open to the public.

In order to take effect the government’s decision will need to be approved by parliament.

 

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