00:12Armenian Prime Minister Sargsyan Resigns Amid Mass Protests in Yerevan

REUTERS

REUTERS

Acting Prime Minister Karen Karapetian announces Sargsyan will succeed him.

He was elected as prime minister during a special session of parliament on April 17 by a vote of 77 to 17, but announced his resignation today, bowing to pressure from tens of thousands of demonstrators who had taken to the streets and paralyzed the capital, Yerevan, to protest against his election. The movement on the streets is against my office.

Antigovernment demonstrations erupted nearly two weeks ago against the pro-Russian Sargsyan when he was appointed prime minister after a decade as president, part of a transition of governance that expanded the role of the prime minister.

The official website of Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan says he has resigned.

Sargsyan and protest leader Nikol Pashinian met Sunday morning for brief televised talks.

Pashinian told a rally in Armenia's capital, Yerevan, on Monday evening the opposition will be pushing for a snap parliamentary election and wants to prevent former President Serzh Sargsyan from running the country behind the scenes.

The opposition in the former Soviet republic called for a meeting with the acting prime minister to discuss a "peaceful transfer of power".

Armenia's political parties in parliament now have seven days to put forward the name of a new prime minister. Thus, the transition to a parliamentary system, stipulated by the constitutional amendments adopted in December 2015, was finalized.

Pashinyan said he reached an agreement with Karapetyan to have all those arrested released by the end of the rally.

Writing on Facebook, Pashinyan congratulated the people for the resignation: "You have won, proud citizens of the Republic of Armenia".

The opposition figured recalled how on Monday, despite the authorities suggesting that Sargsyan postpone his resignation, he had insisted on the urgency of the move.

The defence ministry of Azerbaijan, an ally of Turkey, yesterday denied reports that it had moved military equipment toward Nagorno-Karabakh, where several hundred were killed in fighting in 2016. As noted in a recent article in The Economist, almost 10 percent of the population has emigrated since 2008, when Sargsyan became the president; unemployment is at almost 20 percent; and about 30 percent fall below the poverty line of $2.90 a day (The Economist, April 19).

"We are watching what is happening in Armenia and, in fact, the main thing is that we hope everything will proceed within the framework of the law", Peskov said, asked whether the Kremlin was following what is happening in Yerevan. "Armenia just demonstrated that people have voice and power".

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