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Armenia names new prime minister

14 april 2014, 13:41
Ovik Abraamian. Photo courtesy of pastinfo.com
Ovik Abraamian. Photo courtesy of pastinfo.com

Armenia on Sunday named parliament speaker Ovik Abraamian as its new prime minister, AFP reports.

Abraamian, 56, takes over from Tigran Sarkisian who resigned earlier this month. Under the constitution, he now has 20 days to form a government.

"Given Ovik Abraamian's experience, we believe that he can and will resolve the problems our society faces," said deputy speaker Eduard Sharmazanov as he announced the appointment.

Sarkisian's government had come in for sharp criticism over a scheme requiring people born after 1974 to deposit five percent of their pay in private pension funds.

Thousands took to the streets to protest what they called a government "racket".

A landlocked country of 3.2 million, Armenia was badly affected by the global downturn and unemployment is a major issue.

The former Soviet state is economically isolated with its borders to Turkey and Azerbaijan both blocked due to ongoing international disputes.

Sarkisian surprised many last year by turning his back on years of negotiations toward a free-trade deal with the European Union in favour of joining the Moscow-led customs union, a pet project of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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