The 35 members of the 107-seat parliament representing the Hayastan and Pativ Unem alliances began the boycott in April in advance of their daily demonstrations demanding Pashinian’s resignation. They failed to force him to step down before deciding in mid-June to scale back the protests sparked by Pashinian’s apparent readiness to make major concessions to Azerbaijan.
The opposition lawmakers continued the boycott through the summer despite government threats to strip them of their parliament seats. Parliamentary leaders of the ruling Civil Contract party repeatedly accused them of illegal absenteeism.
Hayastan’s parliamentary group said on Friday that it is the pro-government majority that has been “delegitimizing” and “disrupting the normal work of the National Assembly” by blocking debates on pressing issues facing Armenia.
“Under these circumstances, we will continue to use the internationally accepted tool of political boycott in the fight against the parliamentary majority acting illegally,” it said in a statement.
“We are convinced that regime change is the necessary minimum condition for solving the problems facing our country, overcoming challenges, turning the page of defeat, and getting out of this humiliating state. Armenia cannot present itself to the world with a figure symbolizing defeat and infamy,” added the bloc led by former President Robert Kocharian.
Tigran Abrahamian, a senior lawmaker representing Pativ Unem, said he and his colleagues also have no plans to return.
“Our decision regarding the boycott hasn’t changed,” Abrahamian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.
The opposition blocs also announced that they will hold on September 12-13 a conference on “the real agenda of Armenia.” The event is clearly timed to coincide with the start of the parliament’s autumn session.
The Hayastan statement indicated that the opposition blocs will also continue to hold anti-government demonstrations.
At their most recent rally held in Yerevan on September 2, the blocs promised another change of tactics aimed at attracting a larger following.
Pashinian and his political allies have dismissed the opposition demands for his resignation, saying the opposition has failed to attract popular support for regime change.