“I can no longer imagine my further work in this National Assembly under any agenda,” Artur Ghazinian of the main opposition Hayastan alliance wrote on Facebook.
Ghazinian attributed his decision to “political and tactical considerations” but did not clarify whether he has disagreements with the alliance headed by former President Robert Kocharian. He said he will continue to take part in antigovernment protests staged by Hayastan and the other parliamentary opposition force, Pativ Unem.
Ghazinian could not be reached for further comment.
His resignation came three days after the parliament controlled by the ruling Civil Contract party voted on to dismiss one of its deputy speakers and the chairman of its economic committee affiliated with Hayastan. The parliamentary majority blamed the decision on a continuing opposition boycott of parliament sessions.
Hayastan and Pativ Unem condemned the decision. All but one of the other opposition parliamentarians holding leadership positions in the National Assembly resigned in protest.
Ghazinian is the second oppositionist to resign his parliament seat in the last two weeks.
Artur Vanetsian, who co-headed Pativ Unem with former President Serzh Sarkisian, said on June 21 that the National Assembly has “ceased to be an effective platform” for challenging the Armenian government. Unlike Ghazinian, Vanetsian made clear that he is parting ways with the other opposition forces that have been jointly trying to topple Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian with street protests.
The resignations may increase pressure on the 33 other opposition members of the 107-seat parliament. A growing number of opposition supporters in the country think that they too should resign from a legislature that routinely refuses to even debate opposition initiatives.
Hayastan and Pativ Unem leaders have not ruled out the possibility of such a mass exit. But they say they still think that they can use their parliamentary mandates in their push for regime change.
“If you manage to use your mandate for your political goals and activities, that mandate is certainly necessary,” Gegham Manukian, a Hayastan deputy, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.
Asked about the opposition’s inability to push through bills, Manukian said: “By that logic there must be no [parliamentary] opposition in any part of the world because the incumbent authorities reject most opposition initiatives.”