Armenia’s ruling My Step faction appears to have retreated from Pashinyan’s promise to hold snap parliamentary elections in 2021.
‘There is no demand for snap elections among the general public’, a statement published on the My Step official Facebook page reads.
According to the statement, MPs from the ruling faction came to this conclusion after a discussion with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on 7 February.
The announcement is an apparent U-turn from Pashinyan’s pledge to hold snap elections in 2021. There have been widespread calls for Pashinyan’s resignation, since the signing of the tripartite peace declaration that ended active hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh on 9 November.
Pashinyan initially offered the opposition to participate in discussions over the exact timing of the vote, but his invitation was rebuked — as opposition leaders instead called for his unconditional resignation and replacement with a transitional government.
Edmon Marukyan, the leader of the liberal opposition Bright Armenia faction said he did not rule out that authorities could still announce snap elections. ‘There is a popular demand for his resignation’, Marukyan stated.
Extra-parliamentary opposition parties led by Armenia’s first Prime Minister Vazgen Manukyan and supported by the former ruling Republican party, Armenian Revolutionary Federation and a dozen minor parties have been organising repeated protests calling on Pashinyan to step down since the end of the war.
While some of their earlier protests attracted up to several thousand people, recent protests have remained relatively small.
Daniel Ioannisyan, a project coordinator with the Union of Informed Citizens, a media misinformation watchdog, questioned the validity of the conclusion reached by My Step.
‘There was no opinion poll since the war with published results, on the basis of which it would be possible to draw an objective conclusion on public demands’, he told OC Media.
The news comes days after Robert Kocharyan, Armenia’s ex-President, who is also currently on trial for ‘overthrowing the constitutional order’ for his role in a deadly post-election crackdown in 2008, announced his intention to participate in the country’s next elections.
[Read the full: Robert Kocharyan calls for ‘full-fledged integration’ with Russia]