YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said on Thursday that he and his staff will no longer be based in a building in Yerevan that used to house Armenia’s former presidential administrations.
In line with a controversial law enacted early this year, the presidential palace remained the seat of former President Serzh Sarkisian after he was elected prime minister on April 17 a week after serving out his final presidential term.
The end of Sarkisian’s decade-long presidency was followed by the country’s switch to a parliamentary system of government. The new president of the republic, Armen Sarkissian, has largely ceremonial powers.
The law in question also gave the prime minister offices in another building where the previous, far less powerful premiers were based. The building located in Yerevan’s central Republic Square also serves as the venue for weekly cabinet meetings.
Pashinian has used both buildings since becoming prime minister on May 8 after a protest movement led by him forced Sarkisian to resign. He had criticized his predecessor’s decision to convert the presidential palace into the prime minister’s main office.
“There are criticisms that we are forgetting what we criticized before coming to power,” Pashinian told members of his cabinet. “This is not the case. Over time we will fix what we criticized.”
“Over time we will return that building to the presidential staff,” he said without setting any time frames.
Such a move requires corresponding amendments to the law.