Nikol Pashinyan calls for early elections due to criticism over his handling of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict last year.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who rose to power during pro-democracy protests in 2018, called a snap election in an attempt to overcome criticism of his handling of last year’s conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
His expected resignation on Sunday came a day after US President Joe Biden said the massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 genocide constituted, an initiative hailed by Armenians around the world but condemned by Turkey, which denies that the murders were systematically orchestrated and constitute genocide.
Pashinyan told Biden the token move was a matter of security for Armenia after the six weeks Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, in which Turkey supported Armenia’s neighbor Azerbaijan, where the Armenian-populated enclave is located.
Pashinyan had been pressured to resign since agreeing to a ceasefire after ethnic Armenians lost their territory in fighting with Azeri forces in and around Nagorno-Karabakh.
He had already set the date of June 20 for an early election.
Announcing his resignation, he said on his Facebook page on Sunday that he was giving them back the power received from the citizens so that they could decide the future of the government through free and fair elections.
He said he was forced to accept the peace deal, which had been negotiated by Russia, to avoid greater loss of life and territory.
Armenian army called for his resignation and he then tried to dismiss the chief of staff, a decision blocked by the former president of the Soviet republic.
Pashinyan briefed Russian President Vladimir Putin on the elections and the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, where around 2,000 Russian peacekeepers have been deployed, during a phone call on Saturday, the Kremlin said.
The Armenian prime minister has previously complained that some issues in the region, including the return of prisoners of war, have yet to be resolved.
Pashinyan’s ruling My Step alliance, according to media outlet Sputnik, conducted an opinion poll conducted by the Gallup International Association late last month.
Its main rival will probably be a group led by Robert Kocharyan, Armenian president since 1998.