Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said on Tuesday he was resigning from his post in order for parliament to be dissolved and an early election held. The former opposition leader was put in power by a parliamentary vote in May after weeks of mass protests against corruption and cronyism, but there have been no parliamentary elections since the revolution last spring.
Pashinian has said the composition of parliament does not reflect the country's new political reality. "The aim of my resignation is not to shirk the responsibility I took on myself before you, but on the contrary to take the velvet revolution to the end through early elections and fully return power to the people," he said on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
Early parliamentary elections can be called in the ex-Soviet republic of three million people if parliament fails twice to choose a new prime minister and the legislature is dissolved.
Pashinian, whose popularity rating is high, said he would remain acting prime minister until a new one is elected by a new parliament. He said earlier this month he wanted parliamentary elections to be held in the first half of December.
In a move that triggered new street protests by Pashinian's supporters, the Armenian parliament passed on Oct. 3 a bill making it harder to dissolve the assembly and hold snap elections. Pashinian accused MPs of stabbing him in the back, saying the adoption of the bill was nothing short of a "counter-revolution." He then fired six ministers from the Prosperous Armenia and Dashnaktsutyun parties who backed the controversial bill which was sponsored by the former president Sargsyan's Republican Party. The Republican Party has said it is not against holding snap polls but wants them to be called no earlier than in May or June so the parties have time to prepare for the campaign.
On Sept. 24, Pashinian's bloc won a landslide victory in municipal elections, getting over 80 percent of the vote in the capital Yerevan where nearly 40 percent of the country's population lives.
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