Next Armenian PM 'unlikely' to be anti-Russia

25 April, 2018, 15:20 | Author: Diane Mills
  • People celebrate Armenian prime minister Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation in downtown Yerevan

Police took up positions in the centre of the Armenian capital on Wednesday to monitor a protest against the ruling elite as the acting prime minister suggested new parliamentary elections to defuse the political crisis.

Clutching a purple rose, the bearded Pashinyan, 42, led a huge crowd of supporters to the hilltop Tsitsernakaberd memorial, wearing his trademark khaki-coloured T-shirt, where he held official commemorations. "I was wrong... I am leaving office of the country's leader, of prime minister".

The citizenry of Armenia was obviously unhappy with the unfair treatment of the country's political system, with more than ten thousand protestors taking the streets of Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, asking for Sargsyan to step down from power. "If he (Pashinyan) is the people's choice, that means the people will choose him".

Many Armenians said they felt mixed emotions because the impoverished country's future was uncertain.

"Armenia needs to be a bridge between Russian Federation and Europe, not a vassal of the Kremlin", he said.

He was first elected president in a hotly disputed 2008 ballot marred by opposition allegations of fraud and a deadly post-election government crackdown on protesters in Yerevan.

As for Karen Karapetyan's announcement yesterday about him calling on President Armen Sarkissian to organize a meeting at which all parliamentary and non-parliamentary political forces would attend to discuss the current situation in Armenia, Pashinyan says, it's unacceptable to have snap parliamentary elections with a Republican Party of Armenia representative serving as prime minister, since it might be a repeaty of previous elections and if that happens, they might boycott those elections, blocking all electoral precincts. For years, he had promised not to run for either president or prime minister after his second term.

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"Early parliamentary elections will be held with the shortest possible delay", Pashinyan said, promising that they must be "absolutely free and democratic".

The Kremlin said on Tuesday it did not regard political tumult in Armenia, a close Russian ally, as a Ukraine-style revolution and was pleased that the situation there appeared stable for now. In fact, Armenia's foreign debt has tripled since 2008; instead of an agreement with the European Union, it joined the Eurasian Union without discussion or a demonstration of any tangible benefits for joining; the increasing brain drain has shrunk the population; 30% of Armenia's population lives below the poverty line; and in 2016, the escalation of the frozen conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh nearly exploded into full-scale war.

But for Armenia's democrats, the real work begins now.

After Sarkisian's resignation, Pashinyan said that no one would now be able to take away the victory from people.

Armenia's political parties in the legislature must nominate a new prime minister within seven days.

"We welcome the courageous decision of Prime Minister Sargsyan to resign from his post in order to defuse the mounting tensions in the country".


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