24 April 2018Hot off the Press
Image credit: Kremlin.ru (website)
Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan has stepped down amid mass anti-government protests, prompting calls for a snap election from opposition leader, Nikol Pashinyan.
Mr Sargsyan’s resignation comes after nearly 11 days of mass demonstrations in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan.
Mr Sargsyan’s office released a statement:
I am addressing all citizens of the Republic of Armenia.
The elderly and my dearest youth, men and women.
I am addressing those who stood on the streets day and night with “Reject Serzh” calls and those who were reaching their offices with difficulty and carrying out their duty without complaining.
I am addressing those who were following the live broadcast for days and those who were bravely ensuring public order through the day and night.
I am addressing our courageous soldiers and officers who are standing at the border, I am addressing my brothers in arms.
I am addressing my fellow party-men, all political forces and politicians.
I am addressing you for the last time as leader of the country.
Nikol Pashinyan was right. I was wrong. The situation has several solutions, but I will not take any of them. That is not mine. I am leaving office of the country’s leader, of Prime Minister.
The street movement is against my tenure. I am fulfilling your demand.
Peace, harmony and reasoning for our country.
Thank you. — Translation by Armenpress’ Stepan Kocharyan.
Speaking at a rally on Monday in Yerevan, Mr Pashinyan said he is “ready to discuss conditions of Sargsyan’s resignation and transfer of power”, according to News.am.
“The National Assembly shall be entitled to nominate candidates for prime minister within a week. Until then, an interim government will be formed, after that snap extraordinary parliamentary elections are needed,” Mr Pashinyan said.
In 2015, Armenia amended its constitution to change from a presidential governing system to a parliamentry system, rendering the role of president largely ceremonial.
Protests ignited when Mr Sargsyan was formally nominated by Armenia’s ruling Republican Party for the Prime Ministership, despite him promising not to run for the position after his two consecutive presidential terms were up.
It is understood the protests were, for the most part, peaceful.