Acting Prime Minister Karen Karapetian called on Armenia’s leading political groups to begin urgent talks on ending the continuing political turmoil which brought parts of the country to a standstill on Wednesday.
“I am appealing to all political forces to demonstrate [good] will, determination and flexibility and sit at a [negotiating] table,” Karapetian said in a statement. “We all realize that we need quick civilized and workable solutions for overcoming the political crisis no matter how difficult that seems.”
“A prime minister can be elected only in the parliament by constitutional means. There exists no other solution, neither in theory nor in practice,” he added, clearly appealing to opposition leader Nikol Pashinian
Pashinian urged supporters to resume nationwide protests late on Tuesday immediately after the Armenian parliament refused to elect him prime minister. Scores of his supporters blocked streets and roads across the country the following morning.
Karapetian did not say whether the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), of which is the first deputy chairman, is ready to make major concessions to Pashinian.
Speaking shortly after Tuesday’s parliament vote, Pashinian branded the HHK a “political corpse” and he would only negotiate on the terms of “funeral.” He again demanded a full “transfer of power” to his opposition movement.
The acting premier and the protest leader were twice scheduled to meet last week. The talks did not take place because of Karapetian’s rejection of preconditions set by Pashinian.
The parliament is due to again meet and try to elect a prime minister on May 8. Another failure to choose a replacement for Serzh Sarkisian would lead to its dissolution and the conduct of fresh parliament elections.
It is not yet clear whether the HHK will again refrain from fielding its own prime-ministerial candidate and thus pave the way for snap polls.
Meanwhile, President Armen Sarkissian “deeply regretted” the continuing crisis and urged Armenian factions to “continue consultations” in the days ahead. Sarkissian tried to facilitate such talks last week.