STEPANAKERT—During a special session on Wednesday, the Artsakh National Assembly elected Bako Sahakian as interim president of the republic, in accordance to a new constitution, which was approved in February by a referendum.
Sahakian’s candidacy was supported by the Motherland, Democracy and Armenian Revolutionary Federation factions, as well as by Arsen Arstamyan – the only independent member of parliament in the legislature.
Sahakian’s challenger, former Stepanakert mayor Edward Aghabekyan, who was nominated by the Movement-88 faction received four votes.
Sahakian will serve as president until 2020 when the term of the current parliament ends, after which elections for a president will be held based on the new constitution, which transitions Artsakh to a presidential form of government.
Ahead of the vote, each candidate was allowed time to address the legislature.
“In the transition stage, it will depend on the effectiveness of the joint work of the Republic’s President and the Parliament on how our country will enter a completely new stage of activity of new governance system during which one of the major imperatives will be to continue the dynamic development of all spheres, defense, security, different branches of economy, consistent increase of the level of living standards of the citizens, maintenance of internal political stability, especially in the current complex geopolitical circumstances. Taking account this I am ready to assume the power of the President of the Republic of Artsakh in case of receiving your vote,” said Sahakian. “I’m happy because we have an opportunity to serve our homeland.’
In his remarks, Aghabekyan presented a number of conceptual provisions and his views on the necessary changes in the state’s security, foreign policy, demography, healthcare and education spheres. Then he answered questions from lawmakers on increasing the efficiency of local self-government bodies and issues relating to science, education and culture spheres.
Ramela Dadayan, Chair of the parliament’s balloting committee, presented the final vote count, after which, Parliament Speaker Ashot Ghulyan congratulated the re-elected president.
Congratulatory statements were sent to Sahakian by President Serzh Sarkisian, Armenia’s Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan and His Holiness Karekin II, the Catholicos of All Armenians, among others.