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Armenian Ruling Party Names Candidate For Parliament Speaker

Samvel Nikoyan

Samvel Nikoyan

YEREVAN -- The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) has named acting parliament speaker Samvel Nikoyan as its candidate to serve in that post until the legislature's five-year term ends in May, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

At a meeting late on December 1, the HHK's executive board also decided that parliament faction secretary Eduard Sharmazanov would succeed Nikoyan as deputy parliament speaker.

The HHK, which controls the majority of seats in the 131-member legislature, is in a position to name the new speaker and one of his or her deputies under a power-sharing deal with its two junior coalition partners, the Prosperous Armenia and Rule of Law parties.

The approval of the two HHK nominees in a secret ballot appears a foregone conclusion, given the dominant position of the ruling coalition parties and the HHK, in particular, in the legislature.

The two minority parties in parliament, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and Heritage, have shown little interest in nominating candidates for the vacant positions.

Sharmazanov, who is also HHK spokesman, told RFE/RL that the party will formally nominate its candidates at one of the four sessions of the National Assembly commencing on December 5.

The post of parliament speaker is the second-most senior political post in Armenia. The previous speaker, Hovik Abrahamian, stepped down in mid-November, two weeks after being asked by President Serzh Sarkisian to manage the party's election campaign next year.