YEREVAN, 2 May 2000 (RFE/RL) - Armenian President Robert Kocharian today
dismissed the country's prime minister and defense minister. Kocharian said in a statement that Prime Minister Aram Sarkisian and
Defense Minister Vagharshak Harutiunian were ousted to stop what he described as
a disarray in the government.
Kocharian said that Sarkisian and his aides had engaged in "political
games" instead of tackling the country's pressing economic problems. Kocharian
also said Harutiunian's activities threatened to damage the Armenian armed
forces. He stopped short of providing details.
Kocharian said that he will tomorrow begin consultations with the
parliamentary majority on choosing a new prime minister. Last week, a
parliamentary majority took a preliminary decision to begin impeachment
proceedings against Kocharian.
Under the Armenian constitution, the cabinet is appointed by the president
but may be unseated by a parliament vote of no confidence.