Armenian President Armen Sarkissian formally appointed newly elected Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s cabinet on Saturday, which included 17 ministers and three deputy prime ministers (Photo: Press Service of the Prime Minister of Armenia)
YEREVAN (A.W.)—Armenian President Armen Sarkissian formally appointed newly elected Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s cabinet on Saturday, which included 17 ministers and three deputy prime ministers.
The members of the new cabinet—which were named on May 11 and 12—include several new faces and only four members who held high-ranking positions in Armenia’s previous government, which formally resigned after weeks of wide-scale protests and acts of civil disobedience.
Davit Tonoyan, who had been serving as Acting Minister of Emergency Affairs, will replace outgoing Defense Minsiter Vigen Sargsyan, who resigned on May 8. Last week, outgoing Minister Sargsyan said that the movement that brought down Armenia’s government were not a democratic revolution and noted that they could spell more trouble for the country.
Tonoyan, who is not a member of any party, is no stranger to the country’s defense circles, having served as Deputy Defense Minister between 2010 and 2016 and the head of the ministry’s Department of Defense Policy prior to that.
The country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be headed by Armenia’s former United Nation’s Ambassador and career diplomat Zohrab Mnatsakanyan. Born in Yerevan and also non-partisan, Mnatsakanyan holds a Master’s Degree in Western European Politics from Victoria University, in the U.K., and served as UN Ambassador since 2014.
In his capacity at UN Ambassador, Mnatsakanyan was one of the key negotiators of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA), signed between Armenia and the European Union last November.
Mnatsakanyan will replace outgoing Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, whose 10-years as the head of ministry continues to be marred by the ill-fated Armenia-Turkey Protocols, which were signed by him and then-Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Oct. 10, 2009, in Zurich, Switzerland, and were only officially declared null and void earlier this year by Serge Sarkisian’s administration.
The second largest force in Armenia’s National Assembly—the Tsarukyan alliance—will be represented by the Ministers of Energy, Transport and Communications, Emergency Situations, and Sports and Youth Affairs. One of the three deputy prime ministers—46-year-old banker Mher Grigorian—is also a member of controversial businessman Gagik Tsarukyan’s alliance.
The two other deputy prime ministers—Ararat Mirzoyan and Tigran Avinyan—are senior members of Prime Minsiter Pashinyan’s Civil Contract party.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), which pulled out of the coalition with the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) on April 25, will also be represented in the new cabinet with two ministers. Artsvik Minasyan, who most recently served as Armenia’s Minister of Nature Protection was appointed Minister of Economic Development, while Arthur Khachatryan who was the governor of the Shirak province until the ARF’s departure from government, will be the country’s new Agriculture Minister.