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Ruling Bloc Silent On Snap Elections


Armenia -- Pro-government and opposition deputies argue on the parliament floor, November 17, 2020.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s My Step alliance did not respond on Tuesday to President Armen Sarkissian’s calls for fresh parliamentary elections in Armenia.

In a televised address to the nation broadcast late on Monday, Sarkissian said the elections would “save the country from upheavals” in the wake of the six-week war that resulted in Armenian territorial losses in and around Karabakh, He said they should be held by a new, interim “government of national accord.”

Pashinian and his bloc controlling the Armenian parliament did not react to the statement as of Tuesday evening. A senior member of My Step, deputy parliament speaker Lena Nazarian, said in the afternoon that the ruling political team has not yet discussed the issue.

“The official view of [My Step’s parliamentary] faction is expressed by the faction leader [Lilit Makunts.] Please talk to her,” Nazarian told reporters.

“I have nothing to add at this point,” said Makunts. “When we have something clear to say on this score we will definitely make a statement.”

Sarkissian made the case for the current government’s resignation and snap elections amid continuing opposition protests in Yerevan against Pashinian’s handling of the war with Azerbaijan and terms of a Russian-brokered agreement that stopped it on November 10. Opposition parties staging the protests demand the prime minister’s resignation.

“A leader who led his country to defeat must not stay in power,” Naira Zohrabian, a senior lawmaker representing one of those parties, Prosperous Armenia (BHK), insisted on Tuesday.

Speaking on the parliament floor, Zohrabian charged that Pashinian is trying to cling to power “at any cost.”

Deputies from the opposition Bright Armenia Party also demanded Pashinian’s resignation. “Under the current government and prime minister our situation would worsen by the day,” one of them, Gevorg Gorgisian, said.

Makunts dismissed the opposition demands. “By stirring up such emotions now that our officials are holding negotiations and very important processes are unfolding with respect to Karabakh one does demonstrate a patriotic and statesmanlike position,” she said.

Echoing statements by Pashinian, Makunts said the government is ready for a “constructive” dialogue with the opposition. But she did not elaborate.

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