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Armenian President, Speaker Discuss Political Crisis


Armenia -- President Armen Sarkissian (R) and parliament speaker Ararat Mirzoyan meet in Yerevan, December 11, 2020.

President Armen Sarkissian met with a key political ally of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian on Friday after discussing mounting political tensions in Armenia with his two predecessors critical of the current government.

Sarkissian’s press office said he and parliament speaker Ararat Mirzoyan “exchanged thoughts on the current situation in the country and spoke about possible ways of resolving it.”

A statement by the Armenian parliament said the two men discussed the domestic political situation and each other’s “visions for resolving a number of issues.” It too did not elaborate.

Sarkissian held similar consultations with former Presidents Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian earlier this week. All three men publicly called on Pashinian to resign as prime minister and pave the way for fresh parliamentary elections following the Russian-mediated ceasefire that stopped the war in Nagorno-Karabakh on November 10.

Kocharian has been particularly scathing about Pashinian’s handling of the war that resulted in heavy Armenian casualties and territorial losses. He has encouraged his supporters to participate in ongoing anti-government protests staged by opposition parties.

Pashinian has rejected opposition demands for his resignation, the formation of an interim government and the holding of snap parliamentary elections. At the same time he signaled through some of his allies readiness to discuss with the opposition the possibility of such a vote.

Mirzoyan was beaten up and severely injured early on November 10 as angry mobs attacked and ransacked key state buildings in Yerevan following the announcement of the ceasefire agreement. The 41-year-old speaker, who is a leading member of Pashinian’s Civil Contract party, underwent several surgeries as a result.

Sarkissian again strongly condemned the beating and said “any manifestation of violence” is unacceptable. According to his office, the president also called on Armenian political actors to show “restraint” and avoid violent actions or calls for violence.

The parliament statement likewise said that Sarkissian and Mirzoyan spoke out against any violent methods of political struggle.

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