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27 03 2007 - Armenian Government Resigns Over PM's Death
In seguito al decesso del Primo Ministro Antranik Markarian si è dimesso il governo armeno (come da Costituzione dello Stato).....
Armenian Government Resigns Over PM's Death
March 26,, By Emil Danielyan and Ruzanna Stepanian - Armenia's entire cabinet of ministers resigned on Monday due to the sudden death of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian.

The resignation was swiftly accepted by President Robert Kocharian during an emergency government meeting chaired by the head of state.

A government statement cited Article 55 of the Armenian constitution which obligates the ruling cabinet to step down in case the post of prime minister becomes vacant. The statement said Kocharian instructed all ministers to continue to perform their duties "until the formation of a new government."

Under the recently amended constitution, the president of the republic has to name a new prime minister, backed by the majority of parliament deputies, within the next ten days. The appointment must follow consultations with leaders of the parliamentary majority.

Kocharian held such consultations immediately after the cabinet session. "Participants of the meeting stressed the importance of ensuring the continued regular and unfettered work of the executive authority," his office said without elaborating. Kocharian assured the majority leaders that he will take "all necessary actions" required by the constitution, the office said.

The participants included top members of Markarian's Republican Party (HHK), which boasts the largest faction in the National Assembly and will likely demanded that the next prime minister be a Republican. The most likely candidate for the post is the influential Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian, the number two figure in the party's leadership. He was increasingly regarded as the governing party's real top leader even before the 55-year-old premier's death.

A source in the presidential administration told RFE/RL that Kocharian has already decided to name Sarkisian prime minister. Kocharian's press service denied the information, however.

Sarkisian cancelled a planned visit to China and rushed back to Yerevan from Moscow late on Sunday. He visited the HHK headquarters in the city center at around midnight and left it several minutes later, refusing to speak to journalists. It was thus unclear whether he discussed the question of who should succeed Markarian with other members of the party's governing board.

Meanwhile, a special state commission tasked with organizing Markarian's funeral announced that the deceased prime minister will be laid to rest in Yerevan's Komitas Pantheon on Wednesday. In a separate decree, Kocharian declared Wednesday a day of national mourning.

"We have lost a statesman, a colleague, a friend who … headed the government for nearly seven years, and those seven years were the best years for our state," Kocharian told his ministers. 


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