YEREVAN, Armenia – The Prime Minister of Armenia confirmed on Sunday that he will step down in April to allow snap parliamentary elections.
Amid Armenia’s defeat in last year’s war with Azerbaijan, Nikol Pashinyan has been facing weeks of protests calling for his ouster.
To alleviate the political crisis, two weeks ago Pashinyan announced that snap elections would be held on June 20. According to Armenian law, such elections can be held after the resignation of the Prime Minister, the parliament has not twice elected a new one.
“I will resign in April, not to leave power, but to hold early parliamentary elections. “I will continue to act as prime minister,” Pashinyan said at a meeting with residents of Aragats village on Sunday. He did not specify a date for his resignation.
After suffering a humiliating defeat in an armed conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh last year, Armenia was plunged into political tensions within Azerbaijan, which has been controlled by Armenian-backed separatists for more than 25 years.
In November, Pashinyan signed a peace treaty conceding parts of Nagorno-Karabakh, large areas of Armenian-controlled territory. He defended the move as the only way to prevent Azerbaijan from taking over the entire region.
Pashinyan has maintained significant public support, despite his defeat in Nagorno-Karabakh, and thousands of people have rallied in support of him to resist pressure from the opposition to oust him.