YEREVAN (A.W.)—Armen Sarkissian was elected the fourth President of Armenia by the country’s National Assembly on Friday.
The head of the election commission, Gagik Melikyan, said Sarkissian was elected with 90 votes for and ten votes against, in a secret ballot election— the first in Armenia’s history, in which the president is elected by the National Assembly instead of popular vote.
Sarkissian—the only presidential candidate—was recommended by President Serge Sarkisian (no relation) on Jan. 19 and nominated by the ruling coalition. A quarter of the parliamentary votes were necessary to nominate a candidate for the presidency. The Tsarukyan bloc did did not wish to nominate a candidate, while the opposition Yelk bloc did not have enough members to nominate a candidate.
The powers of the current President will expire on April 9, after which the current model of power, which lays much of the executive powers (including total say in defense and foreign policies) in the hands of the president, will change.
Sarkissian served as prime minister of Armenia from Nov. 4, 1996 to March 20, 1997. Previously, he had been Armenia’s ambassador in London. He has also served as the Armenian ambassador to the European Union, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and the Holy See.
President [Serge] Sarkisian received on President-elect Sarkissian shortly following his election. President Sarkisian congratulated Sarkissian on his election as President of the Republic, wished him success, and expressed confidence that the coming years for Armenia would be the years of best achievements.
“Dear Mr. Sarkissian, I sincerely congratulate you on your election as Armenia’s President. This, of course, is a very important event in the life of our people and the state, and, of course, is a very important milestone on the way to the establishment of parliamentary democracy. I am sure that you will do your best to fulfill the duties of the President of Armenia,” President Sarkisian said during the meeting, according to official sources.