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Armenia: Ex-Prime Minister Plans Political Comeback

Yerevan, 29 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - The first issue of a new newspaper entitled "Menk" ("We") was published yesterday in Armenia and it carried an interview with former prime minister Hrant Bagratyan. Bagratyan told the paper he intends to found a new liberal political party named Azatutyun (Freedom).

The party's founding congress, he said, is May 29. Bagratyan told "Menk" that his new party will have a "modern liberal ideology," and will represent the interests of property owners and producers.

An economist by profession, Bagratyan served as Armenia's Prime Minister for nearly four years, from February, 1993 until November 1996, when he submitted his resignation. The free-market oriented economic policies he introduced reversed a steep decline in production, but made him unpopular with the Armenian population.

A political party representing industrialists and businessmen was founded in Armenia last year. One of its most prominent members is Telman Petrosyan, the elder brother of President Levon Ter-Petrossyan.