President of Armenia (1998-2008)
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Armenia is a republic with a presidential governing system. The president is the head of state. According to Chapter 3, Article 49 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia,

“The President of the Republic of Armenia shall uphold the Constitution, and ensure the normal functioning of the legislative, executive and judicial authorities. The President of the Republic shall be the guarantor of the independence, territorial integrity and security of the Republic.”

The same person cannot hold the office of president for more than two consecutive terms. The people directly elect the President for a five-year term. The President’s primary responsibility is the formulation of policy, the conduct of foreign and defense policies, and ensuring the normal functioning of state institutions. The first president of the Republic of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrossian, was elected on October 16, 1991. In 1998, he resigned. Then-Prime Minister Robert Kocharian became Acting President. Extraordinary elections were set for March 16, 1998. Because no candidate garnered 50% + 1 of the votes, the first round of elections required a run-off between the top two candidates from the 12 original candidates. Acting President Robert Kocharian was elected President of the Republic of Armenia on March 31, 1998.


Robert Kocharian

Robert Kocharian - President 1998-2008


President Robert Kocharian was elected to the office in April 1998, marking the second presidential administration of the Republic of Armenia in post Soviet-independence.

The Kocharian Administration is known for its visionary leadership to integrate Armenia into regional and global economies with its open-door policy for international investments, participation in regional programs, and in its pursuit of a peaceful and lasting resolution of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict.

Robert Kocharian was born in 1954 in the capital of Nagorno-Karabagh, Stepanakert. He graduated from the Yerevan State Polytechnic Institute with an engineering degree. He married Bella Kocharian and they have three children.

Robert Kocharian’s leadership began as early as 1989, when he became a key person in Nagorno-Karabagh’s self-determination movement, one of the founders of the Miatsum (Unification) non-governmental organization, and an Adviser to the Chairman of the Executive Committee of Nagorno-Karabagh. In 1989, he was elected deputy to the Supreme Soviet (Parliament) of the Republic of Armenia as a representative of Nagorno-Karabagh. In 1992, Robert Kocharian was appointed Prime Minister of Nagorno-Karabagh, while also heading the State Committee on Defense. Under military attack by the Azerbaijani military, he organized the Nagorno-Karabagh self-defense forces. Thanks to successive victories of the defense forces, both the people and the borders of Nagorno-Karabagh were once again safe and secure from Azerbaijani aggression. In May 1994, a cease-fire between Nagorno-Karabagh and Azerbaijan was negotiated, which still holds today.

Under Kocharian’s leadership, Nagorno-Karabagh became a negotiating member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe for the settlement of the conflict. He also became the first Karabagh representative to negotiate directly on behalf of the people of Nagorno-Karabagh in international forums.

In 1994, by an overwhelming majority, Robert Kocharian was elected the first President of Nagorno-Karabagh. Kocharian’s appeal that “a nation tested by the ordeal of war must pass the test of peace,” marked the beginning of a large-scale social and economic rehabilitation of Nagorno-Karabagh.

In 1997, Armenia’s First President, Levon Ter-Petrossian appointed Robert Kocharian as Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia. While in office, he tackled issues of corruption and intensified efforts to institutionalize a free-market economy. After President Levon Ter-Petrossian’s resignation, Robert Kocharian ran a charismatic and populist campaign against leading presidential candidate Karen Demirchian, and won the presidency in an open and fair election.

Sports, and particularly basketball, swimming and other water sports, and winter sports figure prominently among Robert Kocharian’s hobbies. He also enjoys hunting. President Kocharian’s favorite music is jazz.

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