Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan

Prime Minister Pashinyan Resigns, Paving Way for Snap Elections

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YEREVAN (Combined Sources) — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced his resignation late on Tuesday, October 16, paving the way for the holding of snap parliamentary elections in Armenia in December.

In a televised address to the nation, Pashinyan said the elections are necessary for completing the democratic Velvet Revolution that brought him to power in May. He seemed confident that the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) and other parliamentary forces would not try to prevent them by electing another prime minister.

President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian has accepted the resignation of the Cabinet of the Republic of Armenia, ARMENPRESS was informed from the press service of the President’s Office.

Pashinyan’s party controls only a few seats in the current Armenian parliament. Early general elections are therefore vital for his political future. Observers believe that the popular premier and his allies will win them by a landslide.

Under the Armenian constitution, the National Assembly can be dissolved if it fails to elect another head of government within two weeks after Pashinyan’s resignation.

The HHK, which holds 50 seats in the 105-member legislature, said on October 9 that it “does not have an intention to nominate a candidate” for the post of prime minister. The party’s deputy chairman, Armen Ashotyan, reaffirmed that pledge earlier on Tuesday.

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Two other parliamentary forces, the Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and the Dashnaktsutyun (ARF), have also pledged not to try to install another premier. They have 31 and 7 parliament seats, respectively.

Pashinyan said that while his political team is “more than prepared for any scenario” he believes that the parliament majority will not “act against the people and national security.” He stressed in that regard, he does not view the HHK as an “enemy.”

Pashinyan rallied tens of thousands of supporters outside the parliament building in Yerevan on October 2 immediately after lawmakers from those three parties pushed through a bill that could have complicated the conduct of fresh elections. The three parties thus attempted to delay the vote until next May or June. They dropped their objections to Pashinyan’s plans following angry protests.

Pashinyan stepped up his push for parliament’s dissolution after his alliance won more than 80 percent of the vote in the September 23 municipal elections in Yerevan.

The constitution allows the premier and his ministers to continue to perform their duties at least until the inaugural session of the new parliament. Pashinyan emphasized this fact in his live address.

Pashinyan Speech

Topics: elections

Speaking directly to the camera, Pashinyan in turns encouraged voters and explained his course.

“The roadmap for achieving early elections of parliament is the following: after my resignation the President of the Republic immediately accepts the resignation of the government, the National Assembly doesn’t elect a prime minister twice during the upcoming 14 days, which results in the National Assembly being dissolved and the President of the Republic calling for early elections of parliament.

“During this entire period, the cabinet members will continue carrying out their duties. I will continue fulfilling the Constitutional powers of Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, that is to say I will continue being the guarantor of the people’s victory and if you give a vote of confidence to our political force in the upcoming elections in December, I will be re-elected as Prime Minister.”

He said the demonstration on October 2 indicate his popularity and that he thus does not fear an underhanded move from other political parties.

“The October 2 events showed that we are more than ready for any scenario, because not a single force can stand before the will and desire of the people.

“But now I don’t even want to discuss any such scenario, because as much contradictions and harsh debates we were to have with a number of parliamentary forces, I can’t think that they have a goal and intention to act against the people and Armenia’s national security,” he said.

While he asserted his power, he also encourage the political activity of all parties, including the Republican Party of former President Serzh Sargsyan.

“I’ve said during my entire political activity, and I would like to repeat now also: I didn’t have, I don’t have, and I won’t have enemies in Armenia and among Armenians. And I would like to wish good luck to all political forces in the early elections of parliament and to affirm that our government will guarantee the free expression of will of the people in the elections,” he added.

He thanked the people of Armenia for their support and apologized to those whom he has let down.

“But, dear countrymen, I want you to know definitely and undoubtedly: all your pains are in my heart, all your needs are in my thoughts, all your dreams are in my soul and give me wings and strength to stand before you and to confidently say – everything will be all right, everything will be very good. Prepare yourselves for new victories and prepare for building a new and powerful, free and happy Armenia.”

(RFE/RL and Armenpress contributed to this report.)

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