Why Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan Announced His Resignation

Pashinyan - փաշինյան

By Gevorg Tosunyan

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan must resign by May 2 of this year in order for the government to hold snap parliamentary elections on June 20, as it has announced. Here is why. 

This resignation is symbolic in nature, and the constitution says that it must be done to allow for the dissolution of the National Assembly (parliament), which, in turn, will allow for snap elections. 

According to the Armenian constitution, the parliament can only be dissolved in one of the following two ways. One path is for the National Assembly to not approve the government’s program which mandates  in the dissolution of the legislature. This route is not possible at the moment as the parliament has already approved the executive’s program. 

The second path towards dissolution is if the prime minister resigns and the parliament does not elect a new prime minister. It is given two opportunities to do so. If both fail, then the legislature dissolves and snap elections are held. The government intends to head towards extraordinary snap parliamentary elections on June 20 using this second method.

What if the parliament does elect a new prime minister from the opposition parties? 

Taking into account the fact that Nikol Pashinyan’s My Step faction holds the majority of seats in the parliament with 83 deputies and that a new prime minister must receive majority of votes, it is unlikely that after Pashinyan’s resignation the opposition will be able to nominate its own candidate and elect him or her as prime minister. 

Following the resignation, it is most probable that it is Pashinyan that My Step will again nominate Pashinyan’s candidacy for the pro-forma vote to take place, knowing full well that there is an understanding that he will not receive the necessary votes

Further,  there is a high likelihood  that if My Step again wins the most votes during the June 20 elections, it will in fact nominate Nikol Pashinyan as prime minister. Whether he is in fact elected depends on the division of votes among the political forces who will be participating in the election.

This constitutional scenario also took place in October 2018 when Nikol Pashinyan became prime minister and promised new parliamentary elections.