President Robert Kocharian — sworn in and took office on April 9 — nominated Armen Darbinian as prime minister the next day. Darbinian will now, under the constitution, put together a cabinet of ministers and submit its program to the parliament.
Born in Armenia in 1965, Darbinian holds advanced degrees in economics from Moscow State University and served in senior foreign trade and banking posts in Armenia from 1992 to 1997. He was named finance minister in May 1997. His portfolio was expanded to finance and economics minister in June 1997 in the Kocharian government, in which he acquired the reputation of a consistent reformer. Darbinian is considered a loyalist of Kocharian and not a politically strong figure. (Noyan-Tapan, Snark, April 10 and 11)
Darbinian had emerged as front-runner to succeed Kocharian in the prime minister’s post after Kocharian won the March 16 and March 30 presidential election rounds. The appointment confirms the pattern of top civilian posts being reserved for Kocharian loyalists — a pattern set with the February appointment of Kocharian’s chief adviser Hozrov Harutiunian as chairman of parliament.
Inauspicious Prelude to Russian War Game in Tajikistan.