Armenia: Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan Resigns Amid Mass Protests

Armenia: Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan Resigns Amid Mass Protests

Armenia: Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan Resigns Amid Mass Protests

Karapetyan, in his capacity of acting prime minister, subsequently called on the president to organise a meeting with parliamentary and extra-parliamentary political forces to discuss the current domestic political situation and possible ways of resolving it.

After Monday's celebrations, Tuesday began on a more somber note as the country marked the 103rd anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

Armenia's political parties in parliament must now put forward the name of a new prime minister within seven days.

Just short of two weeks ago, the long-term President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, became Prime Minister of the country.

The Armenian opposition leader who helped force the country's prime minister to resign called on supporters to stage a rally on Wednesday after planned talks with the ruling Republican Party were canceled. "A faction that got 7-8 percent of the vote [in the April 2017 parliamentary elections] can not speak on behalf of the people", he said, referring to the opposition Yelk bloc, of which Pashinyan is a leader. Armenian's parliament elected Sargsyan to the position of prime minister on April 17, while protests grew. "If he (Pashinyan) is the people's choice, that means the people will choose him".

"The protests were only one step on the road to greater democracy and a more liberal system", she said.

He was first elected president in a hotly disputed 2008 ballot marred by opposition allegations of fraud and a deadly post-election government crackdown on protesters in Yerevan.

Armenia's Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan attends a meeting with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev outside Moscow, Russia January 24, 2017.

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The new constitution states that the president serves for seven years and can not be elected to consecutive terms.

"It is very unlikely for a prime minister to take the office in Armenia, which is nearly entirely dependent on Russian Federation in terms of military security and stability of its very poor economy", Oktay Tanrisever, a professor in the International Relations Department of Turkey's Middle East Technical University, told Anadolu Agency.

The opposition is demanding new elections and structural reforms to ensure lasting change.

Karapetyan took over as Armenia's top government official at an emergency meeting held following Sargsyan's resignation.

The new prime minister must be a "people's candidate" and not a member of Sarkisian's ruling Republican Party, he stressed.

During hastily organized and televised negotiations, Pashinyan said that the protesters' main demand was Sargsyan's resignation. For almost 30 years, Armenia has also been in a state of war with neighboring Azerbaijan over an Armenian-dominated territory called Nagorno-Karabakh.

The protests prompted the U.S. Embassy in Armenia to tweet, "We are concerned about the clashes between the police and the demonstrators, during which there were victims".

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