A leader of a nationalist party who stormed a police base in Yerevan together with his supporters in 2016 has reiterated its claims that early parliamentary elections will again be held in Armenia in the near future.
Varuzhan Avetisian said the newly elected Armenian parliament dominated by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s allies will have to be dissolved because it will fail to cope with challenges facing the country.
“That this parliament will not be able to fully serve its [five-year] term is obvious to us,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenians service (Azatutyun.am).
Avetisian’s Sasna Tsrer party is a rebranded version of Founding Parliament, a radical movement that challenged the former Armenian government. The recently established party is named after an armed group that seized the police base in Yerevan’s Erebuni district in July 2016.
The three dozen gunmen led by Avetisian demanded that then President Serzh Sarkisian free Founding Parliament’s jailed leader, Zhirayr Sefilian, and step down. They laid down their weapons after a two-week standoff with security forces which left three police officers dead.
Despite standing trial on serious charges, Avetisian and the vast majority of the other arrested gunmen were set free shortly after Pashinian came to power in May in a wave of anti-Sarkisian protests. Sefilian was also released from prison following the “velvet revolution.”
Sasna Tsrer was one of the 11 political groups that ran in the December 9 parliamentary elections. According to the official election results, it won only 1.8 percent of the vote, compared with 70.4 percent polled by Pashinian’s My Step alliance.
Avetisian and his associates declared at the start of the election campaign last month that the new National Assembly will have to be dissolved within two years.
Pashinian reacted furiously to those statements on November 26. He warned that Sasna Tsrer leaders and activists will “feel the taste of asphalt” if they attempt to destabilize the political situation in Armenia. The party condemned Pashinian’s “threats.”
Avetisian insisted that the holding of another snap ballot is a matter of time. He did not specify just how his party will strive to force such polls, saying only that “life” and “public opinion” will necessitate their conduct.
He also said: “I’m sure that Mr. Pashinian is a farsighted and reasonable person, and when conditions become ripe he will opt for that solution. It will only help to maintain his approval rating.”