President Says Pashinyan’s Administration Must be ‘Held Accountable’ for Defeat

President Armen Sarkissian speaks to residents in Gyumri on Dec. 25
President Armen Sarkissian speaks to residents in Gyumri on Dec. 25

President Armen Sarkissian speaks to residents in Gyumri on Dec. 25

YEREVAN (—Armenia’s President Armen Sarkissian on Monday renewed his calls for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to hand over power to a new and interim government that would hold snap parliamentary elections.

In an article posted on the presidential website, Sarkissian said Pashinyan’s administration must be “held accountable” for the Armenian side’s defeat in the recent war with Azerbaijan and the resulting “deep political, economic, social and psychological crisis” in his country.

“The country and the people need treatment,” he wrote. “The only logical and civilized prescription is pre-term elections [to be held] within reasonable time frames with necessary amendments to the Electoral Code and the Constitution, which will allow us to start a real process of state building from scratch.”

“Until then, a government of national accord must be formed with the help of the institute of the president,” he added, staking a claim to a major role in that process.

Sarkissian stressed that the new government must be made up of technocrats tasked with overcoming the post-war crisis.

Virtually all Armenian opposition parties demanded Pashinyan’s resignation immediately after a Russian-brokered ceasefire that stopped the war in and around Nagorno-Karabakh on November 10. More than a dozen of them joined forces to hold anti-government rallies.
Pashinyan has rejected the opposition demands while expressing readiness to hold fresh elections soon. He held late last month consultations with the leaders of the two opposition parties represented in the Armenian parliament. The latter insisted that the snap polls must take place after Pashinyan’s resignation.

Sarkissian held similar consultations earlier in December. The president insisted on Monday that despite his largely ceremonial powers he can “become the irreplaceable platform where the constitutional ways-out and mechanisms for overcoming the crisis will be worked out through a dialogue.”

In his article, Sarkissian also portrayed Armenia’s post-Soviet history as a period of missed opportunities and made a case for the “construction of a new state.” In that regard, he took a critical look at the 2018 popular uprising that brought Pashinyan to power.
“The change of government in 2018 could have been the beginning of a new phase in our history … but it became the end of the previous phase, without offering a new ideology,” he said.


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