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Pashinian Continues To Claim Popular Support


Armenia -- Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian visits the town of Sisian, December 21, 2020.

Amid continuing opposition protests in Yerevan, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian on Tuesday insisted that he still enjoys popular support and that his resignation is primarily sought by Armenia’s “elite” overthrown by him in 2018.

Pashinian claimed that opposition and other groups trying to topple him in the aftermath of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh are pitting themselves against “the people.”

“The ‘elite’ that lost power in Armenia as a result of the 2018 revolution is trying to take revenge,” he wrote on Facebook. “And we are talking about not only the political elite but also all those who had privileges until 2018 and have not had them since 2018.”

“Thus the real confrontation is not between the government and the opposition but between the people and the ‘elite’ that lost privileges in 2018,” he said, adding that it is up to “the people” to decide whether he should stay in power.

Pashinian issued the statement shortly before a coalition of more than a dozen Armenian opposition parties resumed demonstrations in Yerevan aimed at forcing him to hand over power to an interim government that would hold snap parliamentary elections within a year.

Armenia -- Opposition supporters rally in Yerevan's Republic Square to demand Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian's resignation, December 22, 2020.
Armenia -- Opposition supporters rally in Yerevan's Republic Square to demand Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian's resignation, December 22, 2020.

The parties making up the ad hoc Homeland Salvation Movement called last week for a general strike and boycott of university classes for December 22. One of their leaders said it will be “the most decisive day” of their push for regime change.

The opposition forces hold Pashinian responsible for the Armenian side’s defeat in the war and say he is not capable of confronting new security challenges facing Armenia. Their demands for his resignation and the formation of an interim government have been backed by President Armen Sarkissian, the Armenian Apostolic Church and prominent public figures in Armenia and its worldwide Diaspora.

Pashinian faced angry protests on Monday as he headed to Armenia’s southeastern Syunik province in hopes of reassuring local residents seriously concerned about their security following Armenian troop withdrawals from Azerbaijani districts adjacent to Syunik. The protests forced him to cut short the visit.

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