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Gas Company Chief Named Mayor Of Armenian Capital

Karen Karapetian was elected the new mayor of Yerevan.

Karen Karapetian was elected the new mayor of Yerevan.

YEREVAN -- Yerevan has a new mayor, a week after the Armenian capital's top official resigned following allegations he beat up a member of the president's staff, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Karen Karapetian, 47, a top manager for a national gas-distribution company, received the overwhelming support of the ruling-party-dominated municipal assembly in today's vote.

He succeeds Gagik Beglarian, who resigned on December 8 after he allegedly punched an aide to President Serzh Sarkisian in a fight over seating at a concert by singer Placido Domingo.

Karapetian, who has led the Armenian-Russian joint venture ArmRosGazprom since 2001, was nominated for the top city post by the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK).

In what was largely a rubberstamp vote by the Council of Elders, an elected body of representatives in Yerevan, Karapetian won the backing of 50 assembly members, with only one voting against.

On the eve of the vote, the HHK leadership also approved several changes in the government at Sarkisian's suggestion.

Those included the replacement of Economy Minister Nerses Yeritsian with Finance Minister Tigran Davtian and appointing Central Bank Deputy Governor Vache Gabrielian as the latter's successor.

The HHK board also approved Sarkisian's nomination of prominent law expert Hrair Tovmasian as justice minister.

The position had remained vacant since December 9, when the president fired Gevorg Danielian for what the government described as his failure to punish one of his high-ranking subordinates allegedly involved in violent conduct.

The ministerial portfolios in question belong to the HHK under its power-sharing deal with two junior coalition partners.

Talking to RFE/RL late on December 16, HHK spokesman Edward Sharmazanov said the changes were aimed at "raising the efficiency of the government's work."