Armenia’s president rebuffs PM Pashinyan’s order to sack top army official
Armenian President Armen Sarkisian said Saturday he had refused to sign a prime ministerial order to dismiss the army’s chief of staff, deepening an entrenched national political crisis.
They want him to go over his handling of last year’s war with Azerbaijan, which many see as a national humiliation.
The fresh protests, which have continued on and off since the fighting ended in November, erupted Thursday when Pashinyan defied a call by the military to resign and accused the army of an attempted coup.
He also ordered the chief of the general staff Onik Gasparyan to be fired — but on Saturday, Armenian President Sarkisian, whose role is largely ceremonial, said in a statement that he would not back the move.
“The president of the republic, within the framework of his constitutional powers, returned the draft decree with objections,” the presidency said.
The political crisis “cannot be resolved through frequent personnel changes”, the statement added.
The leadership of the small South Caucasus nation appeared to be at an impasse.
Soon after the announcement, Pashinyan wrote on Facebook that he would send the order to the presidency once more, saying its decision had not defused the crisis “at all”.
Meanwhile, several thousand opposition protesters marched through central Yerevan, calling for the prime minister’s resignation. Many more leaned out of windows and balconies along the way to cheer them on.
By 7:30 pm (1530 GMT) the procession arrived at the parliament building, where some protesters have set up camp, an AFP correspondent reported.
Roughly 5,000 demonstrators gathered there for a rally earlier in the day, urging lawmakers to take action…..read more