YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — The Latest on political upheaval in Armenia (all times local):
Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinian says opposition activists want to meet with the acting prime minister to discuss a “peaceful transfer of power.”
Pashinian told a rally in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, on Monday evening the opposition will be pushing for a snap parliamentary election and wants to prevent former President Serzh Sargsyan from running the country behind the scenes.
Sargsyan resigned as prime minister on Monday in an apparent move to end massive anti-government protests over his appointment last week.
Critics saw Sargsyan’s selection as a power grab since term limits forced him to step down as president in March.
Former Prime Minister Karen Karapetian, a Sargsyan ally who held the premiership until the ex-president’s appointment, has been tapped as acting prime minister.
The Armenian government says an acting prime minister has been appointed to lead the cabinet following the resignation of the premier who was picked for the post.
The government said in a statement on Monday that former Prime Minister Karen Karapetian was asked to step back into the job he held between 2016 and former President Serzh Sargsyan’s appointment as prime minister last week.
Sargsyan resigned on Monday following 10 days of massive anti-government protests. Demonstrators saw Sargsyan’s appointment as at attempt to extend his rule after term limits forced him to leave the presidency and a new government system was adopted to give the prime minister more power.
Karapetian also served as mayor of Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, and worked in Russia for five years as a senior executive of state-controlled gas giant Gazprom.
The official website of Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan says he has resigned.
Sargsyan’s move follows 10 days of protests in the capital, Yerevan, against his appointment as prime minister, which is part of a transition to new governmental system that reduces the powers of the presidency and bolsters those of the premier.
Critics saw the move as an attempt by Sargsyan, who was president from 2008 until he was forced to step down this year because of term limits, to stay in power.
Protesters have been on the streets demanding Sargsyan’s resignation since earlier this month.
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.
Demonstrations in the capital, Yerevan, persisted on Monday despite Sunday’s arrest of the protest leader.
About 200 soldiers joined the protests on Monday. A spokesman for the Armenian Defense Ministry told The Associated Press that this was a peacekeeping force that was currently stationed in Yerevan.