One of the largest businessmen of Nagorno Karabakh, President-elect Arayik Harutyunyan, is appointing his electoral rivals to high posts. Samvel Babayan, the non-formal leader of Karabakh in the 90s and war participant who was prosecuted in the 2000s, and has been running for President recently, is appointed Secretary of Security Council. Another rival, Masis Mayilyan, is re-appointed in the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Babayan was positioning himself as a principled rival to Harutyunyan, declared the elections fraudulent held under unequal opportunities for campaigning and announced of disputing the results through court. Later, however, he stepped back and accepted the results “realizing the dangerous times, the high intensity of the pandemic, the need to avoid shakes and quakes threatening Artsakh’s nationhood.”
The Memorandum of Partnership signed between him and Arayik Harutyunyan prompted many to label it as a political “bargain” for which Babayan was promised the post of the Security Council Secretary.
Similarly, Mayilyan’s re-appointment in the post of Foreign Minister of NK, was not a surprise. He was the major rival in the elections to Arayik Harutyunyan, but days before the election date, he quit the campaign explaining it with precautions not to jeopardize the health of people due to the potential spread of the new coronavirus. He effectively left only one candidate to run, Arayik Harutyunyan, who continued his campaign.
At today’s cabinet appointment press conference, President-elect of Nagorno Karabakh, Arayik Harutyunyan asked not to consider the appointments as a “political trade.”
New appointments were also announced; Samvel Shahramanyan, the head of the National Security Service is now appointed Minister of Military Patriotism, Youth, Sports and Tourism, with the vacant post of the NSS head filled with the deputy police head, Kamo Aghajanyan. The head of police is replaced by Ashot Hakobjanyan.
Reshuffling and new appointments will continue.