Levon Ter-Petrosian

Ter-Petrosian Calls For Armenian PM’s ‘Immediate Resignation’

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YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Levon Ter-Petrosian, Armenia’s first president, has called for the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan “in the interest of the nation.”

Ter-Petrosian said Pashinyan should step down voluntarily, be granted “legal guarantees of immunity” by parliament, and leave the country at least temporarily.

In an article published at the ilur.am news website, the 76-year-old former president said that if these steps were taken, a nonpartisan deputy prime minister should become acting prime minister and remain neutral in organizing snap parliamentary elections.

The opposition has been pushing for Pashinyan to resign after the defeat suffered by Armenian forces last year against Azerbaijan in fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh. A coalition of opposition parties has been holding anti-government demonstrations in Yerevan and other parts of the country in a bid to force Pashinyan to hand over power to an interim government.

Pashinyan, whose My Step faction dominates parliament, has refused to step down but has hinted at accepting early parliamentary elections under certain conditions.

Ter-Petrosian, who was president from 1991-98, also said that he agreed with Vazgen Manukyan, his 1996 election rival, that it is unacceptable that Pashinyan stay as acting prime minister to oversee an electoral process.

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Manukyan leads the opposition Homeland Salvation Movement and is the coalition’s candidate to become transitional prime minister to oversee fresh elections.

Manukyan and the movement have voiced opposition to the prospect of Pashinyan organizing the electoral process, claiming that he and his team will heavily rely on administrative resources and will sway the outcome of the election in their favor.

The widespread use of administrative resources could turn all polling stations into “hotbeds of tension,” he said.

“I am convinced that in that case we will witness the most disgraceful elections in the history of Armenia,” Ter-Petrosian said. “And this may spell the end of the Armenian statehood or its prolonged nightmarish existence.”

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