Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stepped down on Sunday (April 25) to trigger early parliamentary elections following Armenia’s defeat in last year’s war with Azerbaijan. The conflict ended with Armenia, a Caucasus nation, ceding control over the de facto autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabakh in neighboring Azerbaijan.
Nagorno-Karabakh had been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces since the end of a war in 1994.
“According to an agreement with the president and political forces, today I’m stepping down in order to hold early parliamentary polls on June 20,” Pashinian announced on Facebook.
“I will be a candidate for the prime minister,” said Pashinian, who will run as a candidate for his Civil Contract party. “If people decide that I should resign as the prime minister, I will do their will and if they want me to continue my job as the prime minister, I will also do the people’s will.”
Pashinyan announced the snap elections earlier in March, a move welcomed by prominent members of the opposition. In line with Armenian law, snap elections can take place once the prime minister steps down and parliament fails to elect a replacement two times.
The presidential administration of Armenia announced that the country’s president has approved Pashinyan’s resignation. After Pashinyan announced his resignation, all members of his cabinet handed in their own resignations, as required by Armenian law.
According to Sputnik News, Pashinyan’s My Step ruling alliance led an opinion poll conducted by Gallup International Аssociation at the end of last month. Its main rival is likely to be a grouping led by Robert Kocharyan, Armenia’s president from 1998-2008.
Pashinyan’s resignation came a day after U.S. President Joe Biden said that massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 constituted genocide, a move welcomed by Armenians worldwide and condemned by Turkey.
With reporting by Public Radio of Armenia , Sputnik