Published: Sun, March 04, 2018
Sci-tech | By Lila Blake

Armenian parliament elects ex-PM Sarkissian as country's president

Armenian parliament elects ex-PM Sarkissian as country's president

By launching the normalization process of relations with Turkey, Armenia was fully aware of the possible further developments, foreign minister Edward Nalbandian told a Security Council session after president Serzh Sargsyan scrapped the protocols.

Dalia Grybauskaitė wished Armen Sarkissian continued success, patience and wisdom in performing the important and responsible duties of the presidential position.

Armen Sargysan is a veteran of Armenia's politics, having previously served as the country's prime minister before becoming Yerevan's current ambassador to the United Kingdom.

The election also marks a major power shift.

Opposition leaders accuse Sarksyan of planning to move into the post of prime minister to continue ruling Armenia.

Answering criticism of the switch to a parliamentary system from the opposition, outgoing president Sargsyan denies this is created to keep him in power, Reuters reports.

Clashes over control of Nagorno-Karabakh, which lies inside Azerbaijan but is controlled by ethnic Armenians, have intensified in the past three years and there was a flare-up in violence there in April 2016. With Armenia switching to a parliamentary system of government, he would remain the country's most powerful man in that case.

"Now the republic has become stronger, but social polarization has intensified", Armenia's Arka news agency quotes him as saying.

Sargsyan's route to the presidency was dramatically different.

In October 1991, Dr. Sarkissian established the first Armenian Embassy in the West in London.

Dr. Sarkissian was the Prime Minister of Armenia from 1996 to 1997.

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