Armenian PM Pashinyan remains in office as opposition ultimatum expires
The term of the ultimatum put forward by the opposition to the prime minister in Armenia has expired; 16 opposition parties demanded that Nikol Pashinyan resign voluntarily before noon on December 8, otherwise they threatened to start wide-scale civil disobedience throughout the country, paralyse traffic in both the regions and in Yerevan.
Pashinan did not react to the ultimatum in any way, and the opposition called on citizens “to start actions of disobedience within the framework of the law.”
The police urged opposition supporters to refrain from actions that could disrupt public order.
At noon on December 8, the representative of the supreme body of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun Ishkhan Saghatelyan urged people on his Facebook page to start actions of disobedience throughout Armenia:
“From this moment until 17:00, the citizens of Armenia have the legitimate right to conduct peaceful actions of disobedience in order to convey their discontent and demand to the authorities.”
At the same time, he warned that the protesters should act exclusively within the law and not succumb to provocations.
Ishkhan Saghatelyan also addressed the prime minister:
“Leave without shock. At least this time, take care of the people, state and statehood. Your departure is a vital necessity for our people and state.”
Immediately after this appeal, participants in the disobedience action in Yerevan began to block the roads. The protesters were divided into several groups of 10 or more people.
At every intersection where activists managed to block the road, a few minutes later policemen drove out and pushed them onto the sidewalk. Some of the protesters were detained.
The movement of trains at a metro station was blocked, which paralyzed the work of the metro as a whole.
The day before, Ishkhan Saghatelyan wrote on his Facebook page that the opposition plans to have Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan resign and form a transitional government only through legal means.
According to him, Pashinyan has no public support, which means that ‘a clash is out of the question’, since ‘there are no opposing sides.’
Who else demands the resignation of the prime minister
On December 8, the Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II made an appeal to Pashinyan to resign.
In his message, the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church called on the parliament to listen to the demands of the public, elect a new prime minister and form a government of national accord.
“Concerned about the alarming events, we also met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. In connection with the growing tension in society, external and internal challenges, as well as a low level of public confidence in the prime minister, we called on him to step down in order to avoid shocks, possible clashes and tragic turns,” the message of the Catholicos says.
On the day of the expiration of the opposition ultimatum, the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Aram I [the spiritual pastor of the Armenian dioceses of Lebanon, Syria, Iran, the Gulf countries, Greece, the USA, Canada and Cyprus] also called on Pashinyan to leave his post, and for a transitional government of national accord to be formed.
Earlier, the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences made the same appeal.
Former President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan spoke of the need to resign Nikol Pashinyan’s government, but only by constitutional means, and not as a result of “internal clashes”.