New presidential candidate in Armenia - Sarkissian may replace Sargsyan - COMMENT

New presidential candidate in Armenia - Sarkissian may replace Sargsyan - COMMENT
Sargsyan said that his party’s candidate for this post is Armen Sarkissian

Baku. 19 January. REPORT.AZ/ After multiple assumptions, considerations and predictions the candidate from ruling Republican party of Armenia for presidency has been announced.

President Serzh Sargsyan said on January 19 that his party’s candidate for this post is Armen Sarkissian.

Armen Sarkissian was born in 1953 in Yerevan. He graduated from Yerevan State University, faculty of physics and mathematics. A. Sarkissian served as prime minister of Armenia from December 1996 to February 1997. He worked as ambassador of Armenia to Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg and Vatican. In 1995 -1996 he served as Permanent Representative of Armenia to European Union. Since 2013, he has been an ambassador of Armenia to United Kingdom.

A.Sarkissian is owner of Knightsbridge Group company composing of more than 15 companies operating in the sphere of energy, oil and gas industry in Europe, Russia, China, Mongolia, India and Kazakhstan.

64-year-old A. Sarkissian also owns business in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. There were reports that he has good circle on the Near East and UK.

In accordance with new constitution approved on December 6, 2015, Armenia will become parliamentary republic starting from 2018. New president will be elected by parliament for a term of seven years. The candidates will be put forward in the parliament on February 19. The election will be held in the first ten days starting on March 2.

The term of the incumbent Armenian president ends on April 9. The new president of Armenia will assume office after that date.

In the first round, presidential candidate needs to gain 75% of parliament member’s votes. If he is not elected, all candidates in the first round will participate in the second round. When the candidate gains 60% of parliament member’s votes he becomes the president. The candidates with the largest number of votes participate in the third round. The candidates who received the biggest votes takes this post.

At this point, the candidate put forward by Serzh Sargsyan is more likely to be elected in the first round. According to the last year election the ruling party won 58 of the 105 seats in the parliament. Tsarukyan's alliance, which appears to be opposition, but considered close to Serzh Sargsyan has 31 seats. Republican party’s ally Dashnaktsutyun, represented in the parliament with 7 members. The opposition Way Out alliance has 9 members in the parliament. In this regards, Armen Sarkissian might gain the votes of 96 members in the first round. Because some time ago Gagik Tsarukyan said his alliance will not put forward candidate for presidency and will come to terms with ruling party. Eduard Nalbandyan’s name was mentioned among the candidates. But it does not seem likely he will put his candidacy by himself. In this case, he would be considered as challenge for Serzh Sargsyan. It’s not known whether Eduard Nalbandyan has ever been against him.

Last year parliament members said his activity was weaker as compared with Azerbaijani ambassador to Russia. Despite all shortcomings, Serzh Sargsyan did not dismiss Nalbandyan. In this regard, minister of foreign affairs is indebted to president. Russian president Vladimir Putin awarded Order of Friendship to E. Nalbandyan on August 26, 2016. This can also be regarded his departure and appraisal given to his successful activity. Moreover, he used to say that after resignation from minister’s post he wishes to become an Armenian ambassador to France.

The country, which keeps Azerbaijani territories under occupation, will form a new government this year. The name of the person who will head the government is also being mentioned. The incumbent prime minister Karen Karapetyan is also member of ruling party. He is one of the officials become billionaire by Russia. In this regard, it is not ruled out that Moscow will have a say on appointment of prime minister. Both Serzh Sargsyan, and Karen Karapetyan meets the criteria of Moscow. It can be assumed that diaspora agreed presidential issue with Armenian government and Russia. Diaspora and lobby got presidential post, ruling Armenian party and Russia - prime-minister’s post.

Under such circumstances, Serzh Sargsyan is more likely to satisfy both sides. The current government will resign on April 9. Since then, the new government will start to form. According to procedure, this process should come to end between May 1-10. Otherwise, a new parliamentary election will be held. It’s more likely that it won’t happen as well. A new government will be formed on the planned date. Under these terms, the incumbent prime minister is expected to be prime minister while Karen Karapetyan might hold post of deputy of prime minister or become one of his deputies. Armen Sarkissian’s biography suggests that he also owns millions like Karen Karapetyan.

However, according to law, president is not permitted to be involved in entrepreneurship activity. It’s not ruled out that this is temporary and formal case. Nevertheless, it is also possible to assume that the power in Armenia is handed down to billionaires. But it should not be forgotten that none of these wealth was generated in Armenia. The people who supported to generate this wealth one day will give their orders as well. The development of events gives us the reason to maintain that that day is slowly approaching. So far the light is being shed on issues that seemed unclear related with power in Armenia.

In last year's parliamentary election, diaspora expressed discontent regarding not participation in governance. But now diaspora and lobby will participate in the governance of state. In fact, this country, exists thanks to Russia, church and diaspora. If Armen Sarkissian becomes president, it means Moscow will share governance of Armenia with diaspora. It’s necessary to mention that none of previous Armenian president born in that country.

Levon Ter-Petrosyan was born in Syria, Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan were born in Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. None of the last two presidents were Armenian citizens. In this regard, Armen Sarkissian might be the first president born in Armenia.

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