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Armenian Parliament Inches Closer To Dissolution


Armenia - Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian is about to speak during a session of the Armenian parliament, Yerevan, May 3, 2021.

The Armenian parliament took the first step towards its dissolution on Monday one week after Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian resigned to pave the way for snap general elections aimed at ending a political crisis in the country.

Armenia’s constitution stipulates that such elections can be held only if the prime minister resigns and the parliament twice fails to elect a new head of the government within two weeks. Pashinian and his cabinet formally stepped down for that purpose on April 25.

Deputies representing the parliament’s pro-government majority did not reelect him or install another premier. They will vote again next Monday.

The two opposition parties represented in the current National Assembly assured Pashinian earlier that they will not nominate prime-ministerial candidates in the event of his election-related resignation.

Pashinian warned the Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and Bright Armenia (LHK) parties against breaking their promises when he spoke in the parliament before Monday’s vote.

“If there are attempts to breach the understandings … My Step’s parliamentary group will elect a prime minister,” he said. “I hope there will be no such attempts.”

“Our understandings are not with Pashinian but with the people,” LHK leader Edmon Marukian told reporters afterwards. “We promised the people that we are going to dissolve this parliament so that the people elect a new one.”

Pashinian first expressed readiness to hold early elections in December amid angry anti-government protests triggered by Armenia’s defeat in a six-week war with Azerbaijan. A coalition of opposition forces blamed him for the defeat and demanded that he hand over power to an interim government.

Pashinian and his My Step bloc stated on February 7 that they see no need for snap polls because of what they called a lack of “public demand.” The opposition alliance, called the Homeland Salvation Movement, resumed its street protests on February 20.

Five days later, the Armenian military’s top brass issued a statement accusing Pashinian’s government of misrule and incompetence and demanding its resignation. The prime minister rejected the demand as a coup attempt. He went on to announce on March 18 that the snap polls will take place after all.

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