Government Signals Readiness for Snap Election Talks

Thousands gather in Yerevan Liberty Square demanding Prime Minister ’s resignation on Dec. 5

YEREVAN (—Prime Minister and his political team are ready to discuss with the Armenian opposition the possibility of holding fresh parliamentary elections, a senior pro-government lawmaker said on Thursday.

“I don’t rule out such a development,” deputy parliament speaker Alen Simonian told reporters. “The authorities are ready to discuss such a proposal.”

“The authorities are ready to start such discussions on the condition, as the prime minister noted, that no party threatens others,” he said.

Gevorg Gorgisyan, a senior member of Bright Armenia Party, one of the two opposition parties represented in the parliament, said it has not received such offers from Pashinian or his political allies.

The Bright Armenia Party and virtually all other opposition groups began demanding Pashinian’s resignation and snap elections following a Russian-brokered ceasefire that locked in significant Armenian territorial losses suffered during the war. They insist that the polls must be held by a new, interim government in the coming months or within a year. Pashinian has rejected their demands.

“The current authorities do not have power anymore and cannot guarantee free and fair elections,” claimed Gorgisyan.

The Bright Armenia Party is not part of a coalition of more than a dozen opposition parties holding street protests in a bid to force Pashinian to cede power to a caretaker prime minister nominated by them.

The coalition rallied several hundred supporters outside the main government building in Yerevan as Pashinian held a weekly session of his cabinet on Thursday.

Andranik Tevanyan, one of the speakers at the rally, said: “Our main objective is to not allow this defeatist regime to hold elections because it is not legitimate and does not represent the people.”

Tevanyan addressed the angry crowd before some protesters blocked an adjacent street in downtown Yerevan. Riot police used force to unblock the street, detaining more than 40 protesters in the process.

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