New President Sarkisian sworn in, Armenia becomes parliamentary republic

The new President of Armenia Armen Sarkisian was sworn in on Monday, although power is expected to remain with his predecessor while the country shifts to a parliamentary form of government. The former ambassador to the UK took the oath of office at an extraordinary parliamentary session, AFP reported. The 64-year old received blessings from the head of the Armenian Church, Catholicos Garegin II. Sarkisian’s inauguration allows the 2015 constitutional amendments to come into force, turning the ex-Soviet republic into a parliamentary republic with a strong prime minister. The changes were initiated by the outgoing president Serzh Sargsyan and were approved in a referendum with 63 percent of voters backing the changes. Armen Sarkisian briefly served as prime minister in 1996-1997.