Serzh Sargsyan steps down from power: "That's not my thing"

Serzh Sargsyan steps down from power: "That's not my thing"

Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan has resigned amid protests in the country.

"I address you for the last time as a head of state. Nikol Pashinyan was right. I made a mistake. In this situation, there are several solutions, but I will not resort to any of them. That's not my thing. I am stepping down as head of our country," Serzh Sargsyan said as qouted by his press service.

"The people in the streets are against my service. I comply with your demands. I wish peace, harmony and common sense for our country," he added.

Opposition's leader Nikol Pashinyan was released earlier today after he had been detained on April 22 after failing to reach any deal in brief talks with Sargsyan.

The protests against Sargsyan's appointment as Prime Minister of Armenia began on April 13. The demonstrators accuse him of inefficient management and the deterioration of the economic situation in the country. On April 17, the opposition announced the beginning of a "velvet revolution". 

The backlash against his rule was triggered after Sargsyan, who served as Armenia's president from 2008, stepped down when his term ended but was subsequently nominated for the premiership, which has largely been viewed as an attempt to stay in power as a newly amended constitution transferred some of the presidential powers to the head of the government.

The Director of the Armenian branch of the CIS Institute, Alexander Makarov, speaking with the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Serzh Sargsyan simply did not have any other way out of the situation. "Apparently, the decisive factor was that he went through several options for solving the crisis, and none of them worked. There was an option of dialogue, but it did not take place, because an ultimatum was put in. There was an attempt to wait, but this option did not succeed either, because the number of people who took to the streets only increased. Theoretically, the force scenario for solving the problem had to be calculated, but their consequences would be no less negative than now. As a result, the internal protest of citizens led to the resignation of the prime minister," he said.

At the same time, it remains unclear how the situation with the transfer of power will develop. "This is one of the most interesting issues to date. A consensus scenario involving representatives of Russian political forces that help to find a compromise between opposing sides is possible. Judging by the current mood, one of the main options is the new elections of the parliament, the outcome of which is yet to be predicted. Pashinyan had a rather serious support on the streets, but it is unclear whether it can be converted into parliamentary seats," Alexander Markarov pointed out.

He also reminded that Serzh Sargsyan resigned only as prime minister and remains the leader of the ruling party.

Ex-mayor of Yerevan Vahagn Khachatryan explained Serzh Sargsyan's resignation as the only possible for him reaction to the outburst of people. "It is unclear why Nikol Pashinyan was arrested, after which some bandit groups began to attack peaceful demonstrators, it had a serious effect on all Armenian citizens - both opponents and even supporters of Serzh Sargsyan took to the streets because it became impossible to deny that his power is based on such bandits, which is unacceptable. Probably, it was all reported to Serzh Sargsyan, he saw the scale of the outrage and realized that all those people who took to the streets against his power and they can not be held," he explained.

Vahagn Khachatryan expects that Pashinyan's plan will now be implemented. "According to the constitution, a new prime minister will be elected, but he will have a temporary status." The National Assembly will adopt several legislative acts and announce new elections within a certain time," the former mayor of Yerevan assured.

In his estimation, Sargsyan's resignation also means a weakening of the RPA's position. "Now the Republican Party owns the political scene and resolves all issues. I am sure that the entire political structure of Armenia and the whole logic of the country's development will be changed, now we can achieve a balance in politics. We understand that there is no point in spoiling relations with neighbors and others countries, including Russia, Europe and the US, and that there is no need for any drastic changes in the foreign policy situation .The main thing is that we can change the internal political situation," Vahagn Khachatryan summed up.