YEREVAN (A.W.)—Former Syunik provincial governor Suren Khachatryan, who was dismissed from his duties in October 2016, resigned as the leader of the regional branch of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) on Jan. 9.
Ruben Tadevosyan, a senior RPA official in Yerevan, said that Khachatryan had stepped down due to “health issues” and was not forced to quit, according to a report by RFE/RL’s Armenian service.
Khachatryan has been a controversial figure in Armenian politics for years. In November 2011, he physically attacked businesswoman Silva Hambarzumyan in the lobby of the Marriot Hotel in Yerevan. He was reportedly angered over her accusations that he stole over 100 million drams ($258,000) worth of equipment from her gold mine.
In November 2011, he physically attacked businesswoman Silva Hambarzumyan in the lobby of the Marriot Hotel in Yerevan. He was reportedly angered over her accusations that he stole over 100 million drams ($258,000) worth of equipment from her gold mine.
In 2013, Khachatryan resigned from his post as Syunik Governor—presumably because of a shooting incident near his mansion in Goris— but was reappointed in Sept. 2014 by Prime minister Hovik Abrahamyan.
Khachatryan’s son Tigran and one of his bodyguards were arrested and charged with murder following this incident but were then cleared of any wrongdoing. Khachatryan was reinstated as governor in 2014.
He continued to remain as governor when his son was arrested again in July of 2015 for being involved in the beating of two men outside Goris, but he was again set free just two months after.
His dismissal in October 2016 followed the appointment of Karen Karapetyan as Prime Minister of Armenia, who promised to strengthen the rule of law and implement reforms.
Vahe Hakobyan, the previous manager of Armenia’s largest mining company, took Khachatryan’s post as the governor of Syunik following his dismissal and will also be replacing him as chairman of the Syunik chapter of the Republican Party.
Tadevosyan added that Khachatryan will participate in the party’s campaign for the upcoming parliamentary elections set for April 2.