Sargsyan, Serzh

Sargsyan or Sarkisyan, Serzh, 1954–, Armenian political leader, president (2008–18) and prime minister (2007–8, 2018) of Armenia, b. Nagorno-Karabakh. He served in the Soviet armed forces (1972–74) and graduated from Yerevan State Univ. in 1979. Sargsyan held various posts with the Communist party in Nagorno-Karabakh (1979–88), and after Armenian independence he held several cabinet positions in the Armenian government, including minister of defense (1993–95), minister of interior and national security (1996–99), secretary of the national security council (1999–2007), minister of defense (2000–2007), and prime minister (2007–8). He was elected president in 2008 in balloting marred by irregularities and denounced as fraudulent by the opposition; his reelection (2013) also occurred amid charges of fraud, but his percentage of the vote was similar to the results of preelection polling. He oversaw constitutional revisions that made (2018) the presidency largely ceremonial and transferred power to the prime minister, which his opponents denounced as enabling him to stay in power. In 2018 he became prime minister, despite having disavowed interest in the office, but he soon resigned in the face of recurring demonstrations against his rule. He was charged with corruption in 2019.

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