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Negotiations derailed: Pashinyan calls to resume protests

Nikol Pashinyan

The leader of the “Velvet Revolution” in Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, after failing to have a planned meeting with acting prime minister Karen Karapetyan, has announced that mass anti-government actions are to be renewed.

The talks between Pashinyan and Karapetyan were to be held today, on April 25. But it was announced that the meeting would not take place as “rules of the game” have changed.

Previously, Pashinyan said that like in the talks with Serzh Sargsyan the agenda of the meeting should be about only four subjects, the first one of which has already been fulfilled: Sargsyan’s resignation. “Further, a people’s candidate is to be appointed to the post of prime minister, an interim government is to be formed, snap parliamentary elections are to be held soon after the reforms of the Electoral Code and the law on political parties to secure fair elections,” Pashinyan said in a live address on his Facebook page.

He also said he would become Armenia’s prime minister, and the era of the Republican Party rule has come to an end. “We used to say that the problem is not Serzh Sargsyan’s personality, but the system, so we cannot agree to appointment of someone else from the Republican Party after his resignation. Now, there are grounds to suppose that the Republican Party will try to use the people’s enthusiasm to remain in power. It is a wrong assessment of the situation. We have stated clearly that the Republican Party cannot remain in power, because our victory should have a logical end,” he said.

He called to renew civil unrest. Pashinyan said, for a complete victory, they need another week, as election of a new prime minister is to be held in the parliament.

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Commenting on abandoning of the meeting with Pashinyan, Karen Karapetyan said that Pashinyan presented new claims, in particular regarding the format of the meeting, the agenda and coverage in the media.

Karapetyan said that Pashinyan presented a list of negotiators from the Republican Party and said that the talks must be held on the agenda he wanted. “This is not dialog, nor negotiations. This is announcement of his own view only, right up to deciding who will participate in the talks on our side. I have experience in talks and have never heard of such negotiations,” Karapetyan stressed.

Karapetyan said he addressed President Serzh Sargsyan asking him to organize a meeting with engagement of parliamentary and non-parliamentary forces to discuss the current situation and possible solutions, including snap parliamentary elections.

As EADaily reported earlier, on April 23, Serzh Sargsyan resigned from the prime minister’s post.

Yerevan has been ridden by mass protest actions since April 13. The protesters were against former president Serzh Sargsyan becoming prime minister. At a rally on April 17, the leader of the protest movement Nikol Pashinyan declared start of a “Velvet Revolution” in the republic. On the same day, the Armenian parliament voted for appointing Serzh Sargsyan to the prime minister’s post: 77 MPs voted for it, 17 MPs were against.

After a constitutional reform was approved by a referendum in 2015, Armenia switched from the presidential to parliamentary republic. Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan was supposed to have all power levers concentrated in his hands. Armen Sargsyan elected as president on April 2 was to have only representative functions.

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