Armenian prime minister resigns
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has resigned.
His resignation is an attempt to dissolve the National Assembly of Armenia and hold early parliamentary elections. Most likely, the elections will be held on 9 or 10 December.
Nikol Pashinyan announced his intention to resign several weeks ago, and recently stated that he would tender his resignation on 16 October. His decision to leave his post has to do with his intention to hold early parliamentary elections in the country.
According to the country’s constitution, after the prime minister’s resignation, the country’s parliament is obliged to either elect a new head of the cabinet within two weeks, or announce its own dissolution.
Once the National Assembly is dissolved, new parliamentary elections are scheduled.
Why snap elections are needed
In the spring of 2018, Armenia shifted to a parliamentary system of government.
Large scale protests followed former president Serzh Sargsyan’s decision to serve as prime minister, which he had earlier promised he would not do. As a result of the ensuing Velvet Revolution which ousted Sargsyan, opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan became the prime minister. However, the new leadership was still underrepresented in the parliament which had the power to block decisions and create obstacles for the new government’s programme.
MPs of the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia made a move to block early parliamentary elections two weeks ago after the prime minister announced his intention to hold them in December. The earlier date had been set for sometime before May 2019.
Calling an emergency session, counter-revolutionary forces passed a bill stipulating that early parliamentary elections could not be held if a new prime minister had taken up the position. Pashinyan called the actions of his opponents an attempt at “counter-revolution”.
Armenian political observers say the power grab was motivated by a lack of confidence amongst the former ruling party and its allies that it would retain mandates within the parliament should early elections be held.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan again brought tens of thousands of his supporters to the streets in response. They surrounded the building of the National Assembly and Nikol Pashinyan held talks with political forces that supported the adoption of amendments to the bill blocking early parliamentary elections.
He managed to receive a verbal agreement that they would not prevent snap elections from taking place. However, those that participated in the negotiations later said that their only point of contention was the issue of when they would be held.
Nikol Pashinyan continued negotiations with his opponents over the past week, and met with success on several fronts. Having secured the agreement of several now-opposition figures to hold snap elections, Pashinyan’s next step was his resignation.
State security service to work in emergency mode
After the Prime Minister’s resignation, the National Security Service and the rest of the security forces will operate in emergency mode.
“We are of the opinion that it is impossible to relax, and we are obliged to carry out all activities in order to prevent any violations of the law on the territory of Armenia”, Director of the National Security Service of Armenia Arthur Vanetsyan said, confirming the news.
Vanetsyan assured the press that the National Security Service is in control of the situation and will not allow violations of the constitutional order in the country.