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Armenian Prime Minister resigns, seeks early parliamentary elections

Armenias Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has resigned in order to pave the way to early elections or, as he put it, to “complete the revolution,” that led him to power after protests this spring.

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“The goal of my resignation is to complete the revolution, through holding early elections and returning the power to the people,” Pashinyan said in a televised address, adding that he and his government would continue to fulfill their duties until the elections, despite his resignation. He also voiced his intention to become the prime minister once again after the elections, if Armenians support his party during the vote.

Earlier, Pashinyan told the France 24 TV Channel that he expected the elections to be held in December. Under the Armenian constitution, the parliament has two weeks to choose a new prime minister after the governments resignation. If the legislature fails to do so, it is dissolved automatically and new parliamentary elections are held.

All Armenian parliamentary factions said they would not put forward a candidate for the post of the head of the government, thus triggering an early vote. The Prime Ministers resignation comes less than a week after his meeting with Frances President Emmanuel Macron and Canadas Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as part of a summit of the International Organization of Francophonie (IOF) in Erevan, attended by the leaders of some 40 countries.

The event was particularly remembered for Macron, Pashinyan and their spouses dancing to traditional Armenian music as well as for Pashinyan taking selfies with foreign leaders who attended the summit.

Pashinyan came to power in Armenia in May, following a series of mass protests that gripped the country in April. The 43-year-old charismatic politician seized his chance by rallying public rage against his predecessor, Serzh Sargsyan, who previously served as Armenias president and prime minister. Mostly peaceful protests resulted in Sargsyan stepping down and Pashinyan elected prime minister in what some people, including Pashinyan himself, called a “revolution.”

READ MORE: Armenian protest leader elected PM by parliament

In early October, Pashinyan clashed with his opposition parliament after it adopted a law that complicates the dissolution of the legislature. At that time, he blasted the law as the start of a “counter-revolution.” He also said that he himself was going resign to speed up the disbanding of the parliament and the election of new deputies.

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