The opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) demanded on Wednesday the resignation of Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian and his coalition cabinet, accusing them of pursuing “anti-social” economic policies.
The Dashnaktsutyun faction in parliament tried unsuccessfully to have the National Assembly ask President Serzh Sarkisian to sack a government in which the nationalist party was represented until April 2009. Only 10 deputies of the 131-member assembly voted for the motion.
The Armenian parliament is controlled by three pro-establishment parties holding ministerial portfolios in the executive. Dashnaktsutyun holds only 16 parliament seats.
Addressing the parliament before the vote, Dashnaktsutyun lawmakers accused the government of failing to reduce poverty and improve the broader economic situation in Armenia. One of them, Armen Rustamian, said that the government’s responses to Dashnaktsutyun concerns about its socioeconomic policies have been inadequate.
The party rarely criticized those policies until it pulled out of the governing coalition in April 2009 in protest against President Serzh Sarkisian’s controversial policy of rapprochement with Turkey.
Prime Minister Sarkisian described the resignation demand as “normal” and linked it with parliamentary elections due next year.
He also downplayed the fact that only 13 deputies voted against the Dashnaktsutyun motion. “Our deputies don’t find this issue important, understanding its political content,” Sarkisian told reporters.
Dashnaktsutyun deputies claimed, however, that many pro-government lawmakers are unhappy with Tigran Sarkisian but are afraid of speaking out.
“For my part, I know many Dashnaktsutyun members who come to me and say that deep down they agree with me,” responded the prime minister.