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Opposition Leaders Insist On Pashinian’s Resignation


Armenia -- Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and opposition leader Gagik Tsarukian meet in Yerevan, December 29, 2020.

The leaders of the two opposition parties represented in Armenia’s parliament met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and reiterated demands for his resignation on Tuesday.

“I said to the prime minister what I had said publicly: that his resignation is necessary for getting the country out of this situation. That is the only way out,” Gagik Tsarukian, the leader of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), told reporters after his meeting with Pashinian held in the Armenian parliament building.

“My position hasn’t changed,” Tsarukian said, adding that Pashinian must step down “as soon as possible.”

Edmon Marukian, the leader of the Bright Armenia Party (LHK), said he also insisted on the prime minister’s during their separate conversation. He said they reached no common ground on how to end the political crisis in the country.

Pashinian did not make public statements after his talks with the two parliamentary opposition leaders. The talks came three days after he expressed readiness to hold snap parliamentary elections and discuss their practical modalities with the Armenian opposition.

The offer was rejected by a coalition of 16 opposition parties, including Tsarukian’s BHK, that have been holding anti-government demonstrations since the Russian-brokered ceasefire that stopped the war in Nagorno-Karabakh on November 10. In a weekend statement, the Homeland Salvation Movement again demanded that Pashinian hand over power to an interim government that would hold fresh elections within a year.

Armenia -- Edmon Marukian, the leader of the opposition Bright Armenia Party, at a news conference in Yerevan, December 23, 2020.
Armenia -- Edmon Marukian, the leader of the opposition Bright Armenia Party, at a news conference in Yerevan, December 23, 2020.

The LHK is not part of the opposition coalition trying to unseat Pashinian with the street protests. But it too wants Pashinian to resign before the elections.

The prime minister, who rejects the opposition demands, has not yet commented on possible election dates.

“The elections must be held as soon as possible and they are needed by everyone, including the authorities,” said Alen Simonian, a senior member of Pashinian’s My Step alliance. “As for time frames, they depend on various political and technical solutions that need to be agreed with our partners.”

Marukian warned in that regard that he and his party will try to block the conduct of such polls if Pashinian continues to reject the opposition demands. “This parliament cannot be dissolved without [the consent of] Bright Armenia and Prosperous Armenia,” he claimed.

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