Vahagn Khachatryan

New Armenian President Sworn in

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YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Vahagn Khachatryan, an economist and veteran politician, pledged to “spare no effort to strengthen national unity” as he was sworn in as Armenia’s new president on Sunday, March 13.

The inauguration ceremony took place at a special session of the Armenian parliament boycotted by its two opposition factions.

After 2015 amendments in Armenia constitution transforming it into a parliamentary republic the country president has largely ceremonial powers. Still, the president is considered to be the head of state.

Khachatryan was nominated for presidency by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s ruling Civil Contract party after a sudden resignation in January by Armen Sarkissian, who had occupied the post of the country president since 2018.

Civil Contract’s faction in parliament later installed Khachatryan as president in a two-round vote boycotted by the opposition Hayastan and Pativ Unem factions.

In his speech Khachatryan acknowledged that he was assuming office at a pivotal time for Armenia amid “complicated regional and international challenges.”

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“We are witnessing rapidly changing geopolitical developments as a result of which current global security systems are being transformed. Today, more than ever, we need wisdom, confidence, stability and unity, “the new Armenian president said.

Khachatryan, 62, is an economist who had served as mayor of Yerevan from 1992-1996 during former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s rule. He was a staunch political ally of Ter-Petrosian until agreeing to join Pashinyan’s government last August. Khachatryan quit the Ter-Petrosian-led political party before being nominated as a candidate for president who, under Armenia’s constitution, must not have any party affiliation.

Under Armenia’s constitution, the president is elected for a term of seven years and the same person may not be elected as president more than once.

 

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