YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Opposition leaders denounced on Monday, January 25, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s reported plans to appoint a senior but politically inexperienced lawmaker as Armenia’s new ambassador to the United States.
Lilit Makunts, who leads the ruling My Step bloc’s group in the Armenian parliament, did not deny media reports about her impending appointment when she spoke to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Sunday.
“There is such an issue on the agenda but it is still under discussion,” she said.
Makunts, 37, taught English at Russian-Armenian University in Yerevan and did not engage in political activities before being appointed as Armenia’s culture minister in the wake of the “Velvet Revolution” of April-May 2018 that brought Pashinyan to power. She held that post until being elected to the parliament on My Step’s ticket in December 2018.
The current Armenian ambassador in Washington, Varuzhan Nersesyan, is a career diplomat who was handpicked for the post by Pashinyan. Nersesyan handed his credentials to then President Donald Trump in January 2019.
It is not clear why Pashinyan may have decided to replace Nersesyan. The prime minister’s office did not comment on Monday on the reports about Makunts’s appointment.