The opposition Yelk alliance will spare no effort to prevent President Serzh Sarkisian from continuing to govern Armenia after his final term ends in April, one of its leaders, Nikol Pashinian, said on Friday.
Pashinian cautioned, however, that Yelk needs strong popular support in order to be able to scuttle Sarkisian’s possible plans to become prime minister.
“Today we are speaking on behalf of 122,065 citizens,” he said, referring to the number of people who voted for his bloc in this year’s parliamentary elections. “When it emerges that 500,000, 600,000 or 700,000 people authorize us to speak for them then I will guarantee that the will of those people will become political reality.”
“If there are people who want regime change and if there is a political force ready to turn the people’s will into political reality, it’s much easier to do that under this constitution,” Pashinian told a news conference. “I want to assure you that there is such a political force.”
The new constitution will transform Armenia into a parliamentary republic. It will take effect in April 2018, immediately after Sarkisian completes his second presidential term. The president has not publicly ruled out the possibility of staying in power as prime minister. He has shed little light on his political plans so far.
Other Yelk leaders have also vowed to resist Sarkisian’s possible attempt to extend his decade-long rule. But it is not yet clear whether they would urge supporters to take to the streets in that case.
Yelk finished third in the April general elections, winning 9 seats in Armenia’s 105-member parliament.