Haroutiun Khachatrian, Economic and political analyst, Noyan Tapan Information Center (Erevan, Armenia)

The next parliamentary elections in Armenia are to take place in May 2007, followed by presidential elections in March 2008. In other words, the country is to go through a radical change of guard: Robert Kocharian is to leave the post of president because in accordance with the Armenian Constitution he cannot be nominated for a third term of office. This highlights the importance of the 2007 parliamentary elections, considering that the name of the future occupant of the presidential palace for a term of four years will in large part depend on the results of these elections. Amendments to the Basic Law made in November 2005 enhance the role of parliament and government by transferring to them some of the presidents powers, and this complicates the picture still further.

Another point to note about the coming change of power is that Robert Kocharians ten-year presidency and Andranik Margaryans seven-year tenure as prime minister (2001-2007) have undoubtedly proved to be quite successful for the countrys economy. This means that the coming change of power is also a test for the economy of this small (in size) republic or, more precisely, a test for its stability and policy continuity. In addition, on the threshold of this decisive change of guard the country faces (or may face) a number of economic challenges, whose successful resolution is also part of..

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