Rapid shake up in Armenian cabinet, ministers of health and defence to be replaced
Personnel changes are underway in the Armenian government.
On November 20, Defense Minister David Tonoyan and Labor and Social Affairs Minister Zaruhi Batoyan resigned. Hours later, the names of those who would replace them in their positions became known.
Earlier, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan presented a roadmap to overcome the current crisis in the country, to establish stability and security. In his program, the prime minister indicated that in order to effectively implement the plans, he needs to make changes to his cabinet.
• “I had to choose between a very bad outcome and tragedy” – about the course of the war in Karabakh
• The President of Armenia considers the resignation of the Prime Minister and parliamentary elections inevitable
Who will replace whom?
Armenian media began writing about the resignation of the Minister of Defense in the morning of November 20. Official confirmation came later.
“Any summarization of my activities today is inappropriate. Am I satisfied with my work during the war and its preparation? I think it is necessary to reconsider some of the conceptual directions that I have not been able to implement, and in this regard I am ready to bear my share of responsibility,” former Defense Minister David Tonoyan said.
He was appointed to the post of defense minister in May 2018, right after the velvet revolution.
Tonoyan’s place will be taken by Vagharshak Harutyunyan, who in 1999-2000 already held this position.
Since 2002 he has been in politics. In the same year, he was demoted by the then current President Robert Kocharian, having lost the rank of lieutenant general. In 2019, he was not only reinstated in rank, but also in August 2020 became the main adviser to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
The place of the head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations Felix Tsolakyan, who was one of the first to resign himself, was taken by Major General Andranik Piloyan on November 20. During the war in Karabakh, he received the title of National Hero of Armenia.
Mesrop Arakelyan will be replaced by Zaruya Batoyan as Minister of Labor and Social Affairs. Since 2018, he has been an adviser to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on a voluntary basis.
Who else left the government
On November 16, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced at an extraordinary meeting in parliament that he had decided to dismiss Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan. Just a few minutes after that, the press secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Anna Naghdalyan announced that the minister had resigned and published his letter of resignation written by hand.
Adviser to Speaker of the National Assembly Ararat Mirzoyan Ashot Ghulyan, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Shavarsh Kocharian, Deputy Minister of Environment Irina Kaplanyan, Deputy Chief of Staff of Tigran Avinyan Varag Siseryan resigned from their posts.
The opposition, which is demanding the resignation of the prime minister, calls on well-known and knowledgeable people not to accept positions in his cabinet, not to allow the “traitor” to use their names for his reputation.
“By accepting the offer, you become an accomplice in his betrayal, you will bear responsibility with him. You will remain in history as members of the government that surrendered Shushi, Hadrut, the villages of Martuni and Martakert, the road to Karvachar, the Ghazanchetsots church, ”the address of the former head of the National Security Service Artur Vanetsyan says.
He became an oppositionist and founded the Hayrenik (Motherland) party after being fired.
Vanetsyan states that he understands the desire of people to help the country in a difficult period of crisis, but calls for this step to be taken after healthy forces come to power.