YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Robert Kocharian was sworn in as Armenia’s second president Thursday–April 9–at a special session of the National Assembly. President Kocharian took his oath on the Constitution of Armenia and a 7th century Bible on loan from the Madenataran.
"Taking over the office of President of the Republic of Armenia–I swear before the people of Armenia to be a guarantor of independence–territorial integrity and security of the Republic–respect and defend the rights and freedoms of citizens–proceed from the Constitution of Armenia and laws–serve the Armenian people faithfully in the name of the might of the Armenian statehood and accomplishment of national ideals."
His Holiness Karekin I–Catholicos of All Armenia’s–blessed those present and delivered a short speech.
The session was attended by 159 out of the 189 members of parliament; cabinet members; officials from the Constitutional Court; officials of the State Prosecutor’s Office; the high command of the Armenian Armed Forces; artists; scientists; representatives of public organizations and political parties; President of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Arkady Ghoukassian; Prime Minister of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic; and representatives of the Armenian Diaspora.
All 1998 presidential candidates were invited to attend the ceremony.
Also in attendance was former President of the Republic of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan–who following the ceremony congratulated President Kocharian and held a brief conversation with him.
Presidential candidates Karen Demirchian–Vazgen Manoukian and Davit Shahnazarian did not attend the presidential inauguration.
Notable among foreign officials present was Acting Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Ivan Rybkin.
On the day of the inauguration–President Kocharian with his family moved into the presidential palace.