Street Protests Resume as ‘Dialogue’ Breaks Down

The scene in Republic Square in Yerevan on Wednesday when protests resumed after acting prime minister Karen Karapetyan canceled scheduled talks with protest leader Nikol Pashinyan
The scene in Republic Square in Yerevan on Wednesday when protests resumed after acting prime minister Karen Karapetyan canceled scheduled talks with protest leader Nikol Pashinyan

The scene in Republic Square in Yerevan on Wednesday when protests resumed after acting prime minister Karen Karapetyan canceled scheduled talks with protest leader Nikol Pashinyan

YEREVAN—Tens of thousands took to the streets of Yerevan and elsewhere in Armenia Wednesday to continue the demands for complete regime change in Armenia after acting prime minister Karen Karapetyan on Wednesday abruptly canceled a meeting with protest leader Nikol Pashinyan saying the latter had imposed terms to the agenda, which were not originally agreed upon.

This led to a day of extraordinary events that included the Armenian Revolutionary Federation pulling out of its coalition agreement with the Republican Party of Armenia and the Prosperous Armenia party, led by businessman Gagik Tsarukyan, to call on its members and coalition partners to join the protests against the ruling regime.

The street protests had stopped Monday, after a crowd estimated to number upwards of 120,000, jubilantly celebrated the resignation of Serzh Sarkisian as prime minister, which was announced on Monday afternoon after he walked out of a meeting with Pashinyan on Sunday morning. Shortly after the failed meeting, during which Sarkisian warned the opposition leader invoking the March 1, 2008 events, during which 10 people died during opposition protests against his election as president. Less than an hour after the Sunday meeting, Pashinyan and two other members of parliament from his Yelk alliance were arrested, which prompted a surge in participation in the protests.

On Wednesday protests were held in Gyumri, Vanadzor as well as other regions in Armenia.

On Wednesday, Pashinyan addressed a rally at Republic Square telling his supporters that it would be unacceptable if the Republican Party of Armena, which still holds a majority in parliament, were to come to power again, saying that meetings he and his representatives had held throughout the day focused on the need for “the people’s candidate” to assume the helm of the government.

Pashinyan also pointed out that those in power were mistaken if they thought that by Sarkisian resignation the people’s protest would end, saying that the participants of the “people’s revolution” demanded

Snap parliamentary elections were on the minds of every faction on Wednesday. In the statement announcing its departure from the governing coalition, the ARF Supreme Council of Armenia called for early parliamentary elections as one of its proposed solutions in the wake of the new realities and challenges facing the nation.

Armenia’s President Armen Sarkissian also focused on snap elections during his day-long consultations with parliamentary and extra-parliamentary forces. According to his press office, all the participants shared the opinion that the issues should be solved within the confines of the Constitution, including snap parliamentary elections, “and in case of necessity there will be amendments in the Electoral Code.”

In an announcement prior to his meetings, Sarkissian said, “the civil movement, which involves mostly the youth, opens new opportunities in the direction of recuperation of Armenia’s political life and deepening of democracy. It will elevate the reputation of Armenia and the Armenian people in the world, if we will be able to find correct and measured solutions.”

He expressed disappointment in the breakdown of talks between Pashinyan and Karapetyan and pointed out that Armenia was facing a great challenge, which, he said, should be confronted within the boundaries set by the Constitution.

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5 Comments

  1. State of Emergency said:

    Snap elections is the only true way to resolve the parliamentary majority issue, otherwise the Republican Party will nominate and install a protege of Serzh Sarkisian. In any case, the oligarchs and the power that be will not yield power easily. This will be a long dragged out power struggle that might end up sacrificing Armenia’s fragile democracy facade.

  2. State of Emergency said:

    Snap elections is the only true way to resolve the parliamentary majority issue, otherwise the Republican Party will nominate and install a protege of Serzh Sarkisian. In any case, the oligarchs and the powers that be will not yield power easily. This will be a long dragged out power struggle that might end up sacrificing Armenia’s fragile democratic facade.

  3. Vasken said:

    It looks like a hiccup in the constitution. What happened on last Monday it seems when prime minister and his “majority” party resigned, he left vacuum… the President Armen Sarkissian as Guardian of Constitution should appoint (someone or a party, including from opposition) a Caretaker Government to oversee New Election ASAP.

  4. Vasken said:

    The MAGIC WORD IS a DATE FOR NEW ELECTION! then everybody goes to their work or home…

  5. Norserunt said:

    Nikol and gang are scoundrels. The Armenian street is too emotional and very illiterate when it comes to politics. This combination is a match made in hell. The political situation in Yerevan will prove detrimental to the long term health and well being of the Armenian state. This all also proves beyond any doubt that we Armenians are self-destructive peasants and that we as a people deserve the hardships that have befallen our homeland. The only way to fix what was broken this week is for serious men backed by Moscow, like Karen Karapetyan, to step up and take control. If this is not done, Armenia will suffer terribly in the coming months/years and we will most probably lose major parts of Artsakh.

    God save Armenia from Democracy and its self-destructive peasantry.

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