YEREVAN (RFE/RL) – Armenia’s embattled prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, who is facing mounting opposition calls for him to step down over last month’s cease-fire deal with Azerbaijan, says he alone cannot decide to call early parliamentary elections.
Pashinyan made the comments in an interview with RFE/RL on December 16 as several thousand demonstrators turned out for a march through the center of Yerevan during which the opposition called for a nationwide strike next week.
“The question is not whether or not the prime minister must resign. The question is who decides in Armenia who should be the prime minister. The people must decide with their vote,” Pashinyan said. “Snap elections cannot be held based on my will and decision alone. There has to be consensus.”
The prime minister did not elaborate.
Pashinyan, who swept to power amid nationwide protests in 2018, has come under fire since agreeing to a Moscow-brokered deal with Azerbaijan that took effect on November 10, ending six weeks of fierce fighting in and around the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
His opponents want him to quit over what they say was his disastrous handling of the conflict that handed Azerbaijan swaths of territory ethnic Armenians had controlled since the 1990s.