Thousands of protestors against Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan’s efforts to cling to power reportedly forced the resignation of the leader who ruled as president for 10-years prior to his recent appointment as the nation’s premier.
“The street movement is against my tenure. I am fulfilling your demand,” PM Sargsyan declared in a statement, BBC reports.
“I was wrong,” he added, according to the Associated Press (AP). “The situation has several solutions, but I will not take any of them … I am leaving [the] office of the country’s leader, of prime minister.”
Thousands of anti-government protesters are continuing to rally on the streets of the Armenian capital as the demonstrations enter their second week.
The protests began earlier this month against the appointment of former President Serzh Sargsyan as prime minister, part of Armenia’s transition to a governmental system that reduces the powers of the presidency and bolsters those of the premier.
Critics say the change effectively allows Sargsyan to lead the country for life.
On Monday, a large group of unarmed Armenian soldiers joined the demonstrations in Yerevan in a development the country’s military deemed a punishable offense, Reuters points out.
Ultimately, the protestors succeeded in overthrowing the PM Sargsyan’s brief tenure.
The stunning development touched off jubilation in the capital of Yerevan, with car horns blaring and people dancing, hugging and waving the tricolor Armenian flag. The opposition called for a meeting with the acting prime minister to discuss a “peaceful transfer of power.”
“Opposition supporters accused Mr. Sargsyan, who was made prime minister last week after serving 10 years as president, of clinging to power,” BBC explains.
The government reportedly arrested more than 200 demonstrators prior to the resignation, including opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan who has since been released.
Prior to his appointment as prime minister, 63-year-old Sargsyan served as president for 10 years.
Under a recent change to the country’s constitution, most of the government’s powers are invested in the new prime minister role.
Former prime minister Karen Karapetyan has reportedly taken over as the acting leader of the country.