Supporters take a selfie with Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan at an election campaign meeting in Tegh village in 2017.

Ex-PM Karapetyan Quits Former Ruling Party

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YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Former Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan has ended his membership in former President Serzh Sargsyan’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), it emerged on Tuesday, December 18.

A senior HHK official, Ruben Tadevosian, said that Karapetyan submitted a written notification to the party leadership several days ago. He gave no reason for his decision, Tadevosian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service.

Karapetyan already resigned as the HHK’s first deputy chairman in late June, more than one month after Armenia’s former government was ousted in what is widely referred to as a “Velvet Revolution.”

The 55-year-old technocrat took up the number-two position in the HHK hierarchy shortly Sargsyan appointed him as prime minister in September 2016. He ran the government until Sargsyan served out his final presidential term and controversially became prime minister on April 17.

Karapetyan remained in government as first deputy prime minister serving under a new, parliamentary system of government. The former business executive took over as acting prime minister on April 23 immediately after Sargsyan resigned amid mass protests against his continued rule.

The HHK-controlled parliament reluctantly chose the protest leader, Nikol Pashinyan, as the country’s new leader on May 8. Karapetyan has made no public statements since then. It is thus not clear whether he could again engage in political activities in Armenia.

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Russian media reported late last month that Karapetyan will be appointed soon to the board of directors of a state-owned Russian oil company, Zarubezhneft.

Karapetyan lived and worked in Russia from 2011 to 2016, holding senior positions in local subsidiaries of the Gazprom energy giant. He managed Armenia’s Gazprom-owned natural gas distribution network from 2001-2010.

The former premier, who put forward an ambitious economic reform agenda during his tenure, announced his decision to quit the HHK following its poor showing in the December 9 parliamentary elections. The former ruling party won only 4.7 percent of the vote and will therefore have no seats in Armenia’s new parliament.

Karapetyan topped the list of HHK candidates in the previous parliamentary elections held in April 2017. Sargsyan’s party won those polls amid opposition allegations of vote buying.

 

 

 

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