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Pashinian Reaffirms Resignation Date


Armenia - Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian talks to reporters in Yerevan, 1 October 2018.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian will tender his resignation on Tuesday to ensure that snap parliamentary elections are held in Armenia in early December, his spokesman said on Monday.

Under the Armenian constitution, the current parliament will be dissolved if it fails to elect another prime minister within two weeks after Pashinian’s resignation. None of the parliamentary factions is expected to try to replace him by another premier.

The largest of those factions, which represents Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), said on October 9 that it “did not and does not have an intention to nominate a candidate” for the post of prime minister if Pashinian steps down. The premier met with the top HHK lawmakers the following day.

Pashinian told the France24 TV channel afterwards that he will resign “by October 16.” That means, he said, that the snap elections will take place in the first half of December.

Pashinian’s press secretary, Arman Yeghoyan, did not specify whether he will announce the resignation at an extraordinary cabinet meeting scheduled for Tuesday. He said only that ministers will discuss amendments to the Electoral Code drafted by an ad hoc government commission.

The HHK faction leader, Vahram Baghdasarian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that its members will also meet on Tuesday to discuss the draft amendments. The meeting will be held at the government’s request, he said.

Pashinian, who controls only a handful of seats in the current National Assembly, stepped up his push for the early elections after his alliance won more than 80 percent of the vote in the September 23 municipal elections in Yerevan.

On October 2, the HHK and two other parliamentary parties passed a bill that could have made it harder for the government to force the elections in December. The move sparked angry protests by tens of thousands of Pashinian supporters who rallied outside the parliament building in Yerevan.

The constitution allows Pashinian to continue to perform his prime-ministerial duties at least until the inaugural session of the new parliament. Observers believe that his political team will have a comfortable majority in it.

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