The 35 members of the 107-seat parliament affiliated with Hayastan and the second parliamentary opposition force, Pativ Unem, began the boycott in April in advance of their daily demonstrations demanding Prime Minister Nikol 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 deputies continued the boycott in the following months despite government threats to strip them of their parliament seats. Most of them returned to the parliament floor on November 15.
Several members of Hayastan’s 29-strong parliamentary group continued the boycott. One of them, Aram Vartevanian, resigned his seat last week. The 33-year-old lawyer, who used to represent Hayastan’s top leader, former President Robert Kocharian, said he is “returning to the legal community.”
The three other Hayastan deputies who tendered their resignation on Tuesday are senior members of the Resurgent Armenia party, which is part of Kocharian’s bloc. They include Vahe Hakobian, the party chairman.
Under Armenian law, the vacant parliament seats will be given to four other individuals who ran for the National Assembly on the Hayastan ticket.
In a statement announcing the resignations, the Resurgent Armenia leadership said it believes the opposition should have continued the boycott.
Two other Resurgent Armenia deputies chose to return to the parliament and keep their seats. They revealed last week that they quit the party recently.
The Resurgent Armenia statement stopped short of announcing the party’s exit from Hayastan. It said it will continue to cooperate with the bloc on “common ideas and shared goals.”
“We will remain in the opposition camp,” Hakobian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. He ruled out any deals with the Armenian government.
Hayastan’s parliamentary leadership said, meanwhile, that it “respects” the decision and looks forward to continued cooperation with Resurgent Armenia.
Kocharian set up Hayastan together with Resurgent Armenia and another opposition party, Dashnaktsutyun, in the run-up to the June 2021 parliamentary elections. The bloc finished second in the polls won by Pashinian’s Civil Contract party.