Protest Against Serzh Sargsyan’s Prime-Ministership
Nikol Pashinyan, leader of the opposition Civil Contract party, which is a part of the parliamentary Yelq faction, started a two-week walking tour in protest of the likely election of now former President Serzh Sargsyan as prime minister. On April 9, Pashinyan entered the city of Sevan.
- On the road through Gyumri to Dilijan, Pashinyan and his associates were joined by a group of activists. They selected seven cities to pass through: Vanadzor, Spitak, Dilijan, Sevan, Hrazdan, Abovyan, Yerevan.
- Under the #ԻմՔայլը (My step) hashtag, Pashinyan started his walk on March 31 in Gyumri and plans to arrive in Yerevan’s Liberty Square on April 13 in time for their first major anti-government protest.
- The Armenian Parliament, dominated by Serzh Sargsyan’s Republican Party, will elect a new prime minister on April 17. It is almost certain that the former president’s supporters will choose Serzh Sargsyan as the next prime minister.
- The new president was sworn in on April 9. On March 2, Armen Sarkissian, former ambassador of Armenia to the United Kingdom was elected President of Armenia, a largely ceremonial position after constitutional changes which will enter into full force with the election of the new prime minister. Prime minister’s power is now strengthened.
- In a 2014 pledge, Sargsyan stated that if Armenia chose a parliamentary form of governance he will not aspire to hold the post of the prime minister. “I believe that one person must not aspire to the reins of power in Armenia for more than twice in a lifetime,” he said.
- In recent years, Sargsyan has diverged from that statement making critics concerned that he does wish to become the country’s new prime minister.
- The acting prime minister Karen Karapetyan confirmed that Serzh Sargsian will keep the position of the country’s top leader. Referring to his Saturday meeting with Serzh Sargsyan, he said: “We decided to set forth Serzh Sargsyan’s candidacy as the first person in government because, I repeat, it is extremely important to move towards the new governance system smoothly, efficiently, and with minimized risks.”
- “Our action plans include blocking roads, blockading buildings and generating the kind of civic activity that would enable us to go to the National Assembly and halt the work of the deceitful state and deceitful regime created by Serzh Sargsyan,” said Pashinyan to reporters in Gyumri.
- A former journalist, Pashinyan says he wants to lead a peaceful protest and hopes to see many people joining his initiative along the road.
- Yelq faction holds 9 out of 105 seats in the parliament. Besides the Civil Contract, the faction consists of two other parties, Bright Armenia and the Republic Party, which refused to join Pashinyan’s initiative.
Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced on March 19 that he is resigning, thereby bringing a close to his almost three decade-long rule over the Central Asian nation.
Nazarbayev made the shock announcement in a televised statement to the nation. He also said that the speaker of the Senate, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, will take over as head of state until presidential elections take place.
“Tokayev is the very person that we can trust to rule Kazakhstan,” he said.
Ahead of an upcoming meeting between Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group has issued a statement calling on both sides to “refrain from statements and actions suggesting significant changes to the situation on the ground.” The Minsk Group Co-Chairs from Russia, France, and the U.S. are working with the two foreign ministers on the preparations for a meeting between Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
Emil Sanamyan, a Washington-based reporter and a specialist on Karabakh, talks to CivilNet’s Karen Harutyunyan.
The Iran-Armenia gas agreement currently in force is, in fact, the second such agreement between the two countries concluded after Armenia’s independence. The first one was never implemented because it was too unbalanced in favor of Iran, due to prevailing circumstances. The philosophy of the current agreement, “electricity-for-gas”, is a balanced concept that can be expanded. It requires Armenia to build high performing power plants, so that the conversion of Iranian gas into electricity – part of which will be exported to Iran in order to pay for the gas – is worth it. But Armenia’s gas demand is limited. Most importantly, Armenia should emphasize developing renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind. These are clean energies and independent sources.