Armenian Opposition Leader Says He is Ready to Lead

25 April, 2018, 15:21 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Embattled Armenian prime minister resigns

Today, Monday, April 23, 2018, Sargsyan voluntarily stepped down, sharing today that "The street movement is against my tenure".

"Yes of course we are ready to lead our country", Pashinyan said at a news conference in Yerevan, after being asked whether he was willing to steer the government of the ex-Soviet South Caucasus country.

Pashinyan and others are anxious Sargsyan may still be an influential figure behind the scenes in the ruling Republican party of Armenia.

It was not immediately clear whether Sargsyan's exit will be followed by fresh parliamentary elections.

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After Monday's celebrations, Tuesday began on a more somber note as the country marked the 103rd anniversary of the Armenian genocide. He noted that the opposition is seeking the election of a candidate from the people's prime minister, forming an interim government and holding early parliamentary elections.

Sargsyan's resignation has prompted a flurry of think-pieces wondering whether the Armenian leader's downfall could weaken Putin.

The new constitution states that the president serves for seven years and can not be elected to consecutive terms. "If he (Pashinyan) is the people's choice, that means the people will choose him". Former President Levon Ter-Petrosian's Armenian National Congress (HAK) said it paves the way for the "establishment of democracy in the country". His reelection in 2013 was also denounced as fraudulent by Armenia's leading opposition groups.

"I have grown so used to [Sargsyan's] lies that I just can't believe he has resigned", one woman told RFE/RL's Armenian service. President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian has released a statement, saying that he is starting consultations from April 25 with representatives of parliamentary and extra-parliamentary forces to discuss the situation in Armenia and ways for solutions, the President's Office said.

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The Armenian opposition would be naive to crack open the champagne unless Sargsyan's allies, Karapetian in particular, are out, analysts warned.

Pashinyan set up the Civil Contract party, which entered parliament in 2017 as part of the opposition coalition. For almost 30 years, Armenia has also been in a state of war with neighboring Azerbaijan over an Armenian-dominated territory called Nagorno-Karabakh.

Pashinyan also reached out to those Armenians who might feel threatened by Sargsyan's ouster.

Earlier Tuesday, a deputy Russian foreign minister met with the Armenian ambassador in Moscow. "I want to appeal to entrepreneurs who are anxious about this political process and ... may be packing up to leave the country or remove capital from Armenia", he said.

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The Nashville Predators meanwhile lead the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in the other Western Conference first round playoff series. Winnipeg's Bryan Little , Brandon Tanev , and Joel Armia all scored their first goal of the playoffs in the opening period.

As expected and despite repeated promises not to seek the position of prime minister, Sargsyan, with the help of his ruling party, weaseled his way to the top government position. Though dozens of people were injured, the demonstrations were largely peaceful.

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