In a short statement, My Step said the participants of the meeting saw no popular “demand” for the conduct of such elections proposed by Pashinian on December 25. They also noted the proposal’s rejection by the two opposition parties represented in the Armenian parliament, said the statement.
Pashinian offered to hold snap elections following opposition protests sparked by the war in Nagorno-Karabakh stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire on November 10.
Virtually all Armenian opposition groups blame Pashinian for the Armenian side’s defeat in the war and want him to hand over power to an interim government that would snap elections within a year. The leaders of the two parliamentary opposition parties, Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and Bright Armenia (LHK), insisted on the prime minister’s resignation when they met with him later in December.
The BHK is a key member of the Homeland Salvation Movement, an alliance of 17 opposition parties that staged the anti-government demonstrations in November and December. Representatives of the alliance said on February 3 that it will resume soon the protests aimed at forcing Pashinian to step down.
Reacting to My Step’s statement, the Homeland Salvation Movement coordinator, Ishkhan Saghatelian, announced on Monday that the first rally will be held in Yerevan’s Liberty Square on February 20. “Those citizens who thought about getting rid of the government of evil through elections will now take to the streets,” he wrote on Facebook.
Saghatelian said Pashinian “abandoned” the idea of holding fresh elections because he realized that he stands no chance of winning them.
Some opposition forces, including the BHK, seemed ready to participate in the possible elections even if they were held by Pashinian. Former Robert Kocharian also spoke out against an election boycott favored by other opposition groups.
Kocharian expressed confidence on January 27 that he and his political allies will win the elections. In an interview with the Sputnik news agency published on Saturday, he likewise suggested that he would be Pashinian’s main election challenger.