YREVAN | Army President Armen Sarkisian on Saturday refused to sign the prime minister’s order to remove the army chief, further exacerbating the political crisis in the country, where several thousand people have demonstrated again.
“The president, in the framework of the powers given to him by the constitution, text with objections (ordered to remove the army chief),” the presidency said in a statement. She said the political crisis “could not be resolved by frequent changes in the authorities.”
Shortly afterwards, Prime Minister Nicole Pacchinian announced on Facebook that she would return to the presidency, stressing that her decision was “not at all”.
The situation was further exacerbated when several thousand people demonstrated in Yerevanవా on Saturday for the third day in a row to demand the resignation of the Prime Minister, criticizing the defeat in the 2020 autumn war in Nagorno. Karabakh.
Armenia has been in a political crisis since Mr Paschinian agreed in November that the peace deal proposed by Moscow would be forced and enforced, thereby confirming a deadly defeat over Azerbaijan.
The crisis that has been raging ever since resurfaced spectacularly on Thursday with the call of the general staff for the resignation of Mr. Pachinian. The latter condemned the coup they attempted, ordered the removal of Army Chief Onik Gasparian and rallied 20,000 of his supporters in the capital, Yerevan.
Opposition groups called for Pachinian’s resignation on Thursday and Friday.
Demonstrators marched through Central Yerevan again on Saturday, with many cheering them on from their windows or from their balconies.
At 7:30 pm (10:30 am in Quebec) the procession erupted in front of Parliament, where some demonstrators set up camp, an AFP journalist noted. About 5,000 protesters gathered there the day before, calling on lawmakers to take action.
“Pachinian must go for the good of our country because he is so weak today. No one will take it seriously,” 28-year-old protester Vera Simone told AFP.
Former Prime Minister Vazquez Manoukian, citing the opposition in Nicole Pacchinian’s position, said he expected the political crisis to be “resolved in two or three days.”
“Today, there is no support for Pachinian. I call on the service services and the police to join the army and support the army, ”he added.
Nicole Pachinian “should be held accountable for losing the war and signing a disgraceful agreement,” 53-year-old locksmith Arut Zakaryan told AFP during a protest on Saturday.
The Armenian Prime Minister, who came to power in 2018 after a peaceful revolution, has called for his resignation since losing the war for control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region last November.
At the time, the army, which was in danger of defeat, asked the head of government to agree to a ceasefire negotiated by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and this would result in significant territorial damage to Yerevan.
While most of the Armenian separatist region in Nagorno Karabakh has survived, Armenia has lost the symbolic city of Shusha, as well as the glacier of Azerbaijan territory surrounding the region. In six weeks, the war claimed 6,000 lives.
The military has so far supported the prime minister, but let this week go after the dismissal of a senior official who criticized Mr Pachinian’s claims that the defeat was partly due to the incompetence of Russia’s weapons system, the Iskander missile launchers.
Armenian staff demanded that Mr Pachinian resign, saying he “could not make the necessary decisions”.