The holders of the second and third most important posts in Armenia became known at the end of last week as Hovik Abrahamyan was installed as Parliament Speaker and Tigran Sargsyan was reappointed Prime Minister.
Abrahamyan stepped down as parliament speaker half a year before the May 6 parliamentary elections in order to manage the campaign of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA). His re-election as speaker was widely seen as a compromise between the RPA and the Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP), which has the second largest faction in the current National Assembly.
Armenia is intensifying its economic ties with Europe and intends to hold the first round of negotiations with the European Union on a free trade agreement on June 19-20 in Brussels, said Armenia’s Deputy Economy Minister Garegin Melkonyan this week.
Today, May 30, Armenia’s Constitutional Court (CC) is due to continue the consideration of the claim lodged by the opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC) to invalidate the results of the May 6 parliamentary elections under the proportional system. Six former opposition candidates contesting the vote in single-mandate constituencies had also challenged the results of the elections at the CC.
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Armenia on June 4 as part of her European tour and in Yerevan will hold meetings with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan.
A week before the new Armenian parliament is due to convene for its first session (May 31) an answer has been provided to the main post-election question – whether there will again be a governing coalition in Armenia.
Gagik Tsarukyan, the leader of the Prosperous Armenia Party that got 37 seats in the 131-member National Assembly as a result of the May 6 vote, refused to form a coalition with the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) that got an absolute majority in the legislature. He motivated the refusal by the fact that even though his party did receive nearly half a million in the elections it still did not have a constitutional capacity to form a government and implement its economic program.
The conflict between Russia and the West is apparently becoming the main dividing line in the domestic politics of Armenia. The split along this line occurs both within the opposition and pro-government forces.
Aram Sargsyan, the leader of the Hanrapetutyun party, who was number three on the proportional list of the opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC), gave up his mandate in parliament and announced its departure from the ANC. As it turned out later, the main disagreement with the ANC was around the relations between Armenia and Russia.
The parliament of the U.S. state of Rhode Island last week adopted a resolution urging President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress to recognize the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. The resolution also calls upon Nagorno-Karabakh to “continue efforts to develop as a free and independent nation” and praises Artsakh’s “constructive involvement with the international community and its efforts to reach a lasting solution to the existing regional problems.”
May 15 saw two major events in Moscow – an informal summit of the CIS, a loose alliance of 11 former Soviet states which has turned 20 this year, and the summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which is marking its 10th anniversary. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan also attended the summits.
The five political parties and one bloc of parties that have entered the National Assembly in the May 6 elections are now seeing an internal jostle for mandates to be distributed under the proportional system. Some opposition politicians say the mandates must be relinquished and the elections must be recognized illegitimate, others say it is preferable to go and fight in the parliament.