YEREVAN—Armenia’s recently resigned former Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, spoke on Wednesday to young protesters demonstrating outside the Armenian Finance Ministry in Yerevan against the government’s controversial pension reform law. Sargsyan proposed to the demonstrators to set up a working group and meet with government representatives to discuss the problem, at one point inviting the crowd of protesters inside the Finance Ministry building. But the ex-premier’s calls were ignored by the demonstrators, who booed and jeered at him in response.
Protesters demanded that the government stop enforcing mandatory pension contributions from employers after Armenia’s Constitutional Court struck down the law as unconstitutional.
“I invite you to a dialogue,” Tigran Sargsyan told the crowd, speaking through a megaphone. “We have prepared proposals and the government has set up a working group to listen to your suggestions.”
“We can not discuss legislative changes on the streets,” Sargsyan said.
The protestors did not accept Sargsyan’s offers and resolved to demonstrate again in the coming week.
Meanwhile, Armenia’s four main opposition parties – the Prosperous Armenia Party, the Armenian National Congress, the Heritage Party, and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation – issued a joint statement calling on the Armenian government to stop its “arbitrary” interpretation of the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the pension reform law and to adhere to the Court’s proscription.
The statement also encouraged employers to resist the law and refrain from deducting pension contributions from employees’ payments.