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Expert: Armenian authorities need a "Western man" as president

One of the domestic policy intrigues in Armenia is close to the denouement, namely, the fourth president of the republic is likely to be the ex-premier, the country's ambassador to Great Britain and Ireland, Armen Sargsyan. As previously reported, the incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan has already proposed his candidacy for this post.

The presidential elections in Armenia will be held on March 2. The president is elected by the National Assembly for a period of seven years. A candidate for president can be nominated by at least a quarter of the members of parliament. From April 2018, when Serzh Sargsyan's second presidential term expires, Armenia will move to the parliamentary model of governance, where the main power levers pass to the prime minister. The president's post will be largely symbolic. Nevertheless, he will still have some influence on the decisions made in the country.

The candidate himself asked for some time to think at a meeting with Serzh Sargsyan, but it is clear that this is a pure formality, and he is sure to accept the president’s proposal. Why did the Armenian leader rely on him, what is so remarkable about the personality of the future president, we tried to find out with the help of political strategist Armen Badalyan.

The expert also reminded, firstly, that in accordance with the new constitution, the post of the president is purely symbolic, but there is one circumstance - Armen Sargsyan has extensive ties with the Western elites and think-tanks, and also has an entire business empire to himself. And in this sense, a purely symbolic post will allow solving very specific and practical tasks.

Sargsyan is the founder of Knightsbridge Group, which is engaged in more than 15 different industries in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, China, Russia, India, and Mongolia. Armen Sargsyan has a share in the Pepsi company in Georgia; the companies with his participation are engaged in the development of the Amulsar gold deposit in Syunik region of Armenia. The "Leningrad" corporation operates within the structure of the Highbury Group holding company established by him; the former has shares in the Energoproekt company. The latter implements large energy projects in the territory of Russia.

Since 2000, the diplomat is the founder and president of Eurasia House International. Over the years, he acted as a consultant for British Petroleum, Alcatel, Telefonica, and other large companies.

The choice of Sargsyan as a candidate for the presidency, given such a solid background, is quite understandable, Badalyan said. "His main strong suit is, of course, connections with Western business centers. In the context of Armenia signing a framework agreement with the European Union, Sargsyan's choice was more than logical. Of course, it's too early to draft any scenarios and draw far-reaching conclusions, but close ties of the future president with the Anglo-Saxon elites are obvious, "Badalyan said.

Apparently, the Armenian leadership, in the person of Serzh Sargsyan, who, moreover, can assume the post of prime minister and retain real power in his hands, needs Western investments. And Armen Sargsyan's services in this situation become extremely popular. "I think the election, or rather, the appointment of Sargsyan as president will be a kind of message addressed to Brussels and Washington," Badalyan summed up.

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