Scenes of jubilation in the streets as Armenian PM resigns after protests
Following days of protest, the ALDE Party’s Armenian National Party has welcomed the resignation of the Prime Minister, hailing it as an important opening for democracy in Armenia.
Serzh Sargsyan, who served as President of Armenia for a decade, was elected Prime Minister by the Parliament on April 17, just days after his second five-year Presidency term ended on April 9. His election, criticised by the opposition as a move to keep hold on power, followed a referendum vote by Armenians in 2015 to shift the country from a Presidential to a Parliamentary system thus transferring power from the President to the Prime Minister.
After almost two weeks of peaceful protest on the streets of Yerevan, Sargsyan announced his resignation from the post on Monday.
In a statement after the announcement, the Armenian National Congress said: “[we] warmly congratulate the people of Armenia on the resignation of Serzh Sargsyan and the inevitable follow-up of the criminal-oligarchic system. The struggle for years has finally been crowned with success, opening doors for democracy in the country. This is the most important but just the first step.”
“Since then, all of us live in other Armenia, and with the same consistency and inspiration our society should be devoted to building a new, democratic Homeland. The main task of the moment is to ensure the smooth transfer of power and power of the state.”
According to the Constitution, the Parliament must elect a new Prime Minister within seven days. Sargsyan continues to be the leader of the Republican Party, which holds a majority in Armenia’s National Assembly. The newly-elected Prime Minister should submit a programme to Parliament within 20 days after appointment, which if rejected by the Parliament will trigger snap parliamentary elections.
Earlier this year, ALDE Party Vice President Henrik Bach Mortensen travelled to Yerevan and held a series of meeting including with the Armenian National Congress. He affirmed ALDE’s firmly support a European direction for Armenia and the Caucasus region as a whole, and expressed his admiration the aspiration of the Armenian people to live in a society based on European values.