Will there be a national accord government in Armenia?

Susanna Petrosyan, Yerevan. Exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza
Will there be a national accord government in Armenia?

Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan resigned yesterday. He announced this at the end of the government session. Over the past weeks, media actively discussed rumors about his upcoming resignation, which the authorities never denied. Some media even speculated that the Armenian president had decided to get rid of a strong rival in the person Hovik Abrahamyan. Abrahamyan is considered to be a heavyweight in the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA). He has quite a lot of resources and authority within the Republican Party. However, some experts doubt that he can compete against the president – after all, if Hovik Abrahamyan is a heavyweight, then Serzh Sargsyan is a super-heavyweight. It is also interesting that, in Abrahamyan's case, his resignation does not mean that he is no longer part of the president's team. It is possible that Abrahamyan will be appointed head of the electoral staff of the RPA at the parliamentary elections, due to be held in April 2017.

However, another version seems even more realistic. Recall that in late July the president announced his intention to form a government of national accord. Observers believe that Abrahamyan's resignation and the upcoming personnel reshuffle correspond to the promise to create a government of national accord. These experts also believe that economic policy will be changed. However, if the authorities really plan to pursue a new economic policy they must admit that until now the government has pursued a wrong policy. Meanwhile, during his long farewell speech Abrahamyan listed the achievements of his government, which, however, are pretty controversial. During his rule unemployment and migration rates did not decrease, the volume of GDP did not increase, it is still at the level of $10 billion.

Former head of the government Tigran Sargsyan also spoke about achievements. So if the new government really plans to change policy, it must announce that mistakes were made and criticize the former political and economic course. But it would be political suicide to talk about this before the parliamentary elections.

It is likely that before the elections the authorities want people to think that something is changing. Moreover, the personnel changes should correspond to the president's promise to establish a government of national accord.

Analysts can't understand why the president wants to create a government of national accord. The ruling RPA has around 80 seats in the parliament, they can pursue any policy. Usually such a government is created temporarily in order to resolve one or two major issues. Such governments can be established during war or under the threat of war. Armenia has one very important issue – conducting fair and democratic elections. If this new government will announce this issue as its main priority, then it's really serious. But it won't do it. Normal elections are the goal of the RPA: people want democratic elections, the RPA just wants to stay in power.

Continuing the topic of imitation of the creation of a national accord government, it should be noted that if the president truly wanted to create one, then a Republican would not head it. Meanwhile, according to reports in Armenian media, which, again, were not denied, a member of the RPA, Karen Karapetyan, a former mayor of Yerevan who worked in Russia as deputy director of 'Gazprom' for strategic development in recent years, will be appointed prime minister.

Under the Constitution, the Armenian president appoints the prime minister within ten days of the government's resignation. A new cabinet of ministers is formed within 20 days of the appointment of the prime minister. The media are publishing a lot of reports regarding the future composition of the government: the defense and foreign ministers will be dismissed, others name a new healthcare minister and so on. But the forecast that the new prime minister will dismiss ministers of the economic and social spheres is the most likely.