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Armenia’s PM calls early elections in a bid to defuse country’s political crisis

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Nikol Pashinyan
Nikol Pashinyan   -   Copyright  Credit: AP
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Armenia is set for early parliamentary elections as a way out of the political crisis engulfing the country.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that they would be held on June 20.

The opposition, which has demanded Pashinyan’s resignation, want him to step down before the election.

Armenia has been gripped by political tensions after suffering a humiliating defeat last year in an armed conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory within Azerbaijan that Armenia-backed separatists controlled for more than 25 years.

The opposition has pushed for Pashinyan’s resignation, and its supporters have been blocking government buildings and barricaded streets to press the demand.

Writing on Facebook, Pashinyan said he had called the elections after holding meetings with Gagik Tsarukyan, the leader of the largest opposition party, Prosperous Armenia.

Քիչ առաջ տեղի ունեցավ իմ հանդիպումը «Բարգավաճ Հայաստան» խմբակցության ղեկավար Գագիկ Ծառուկյանի հետ: Հանդիպման ընթացքում...

Posted by Nikol Pashinyan / Նիկոլ Փաշինյան on Thursday, March 18, 2021

"During the meeting, we stated that the best way out of the current internal political situation is early parliamentary elections," he said.

"Taking into account the discussions I had with the President ... special parliamentary elections will be held in the Republic of Armenia on June 20 this year."

Pashinyan has previously told supporters that he was ready to hold early elections after protesters broke into the government building to demand his resignation.

"Let's go to elections to see who the people are calling to resign," he said in Republic Square earlier this month. "Only the people can decide who will stay in power."

Supporters of the prime minister and the opposition have held rival rallies at different sites in the capital city, Yerevan.

Pashinyan has accused military officers of attempting a coup, stating that the army's attempts to "involve it in political processes are unacceptable".