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Armenian President Armen Sarkisian yesterday announced that he was resigning his position which is largely ceremonial, citing the inability of his office to influence policy during times of difficulties and national crisis.
Africa Daily News, New York reports that the announcement is coming on the back of a period instability in the small and economically struggling ex-Soviet Caucasus nation in the wake of a war with its long-standing rival Azerbaijan.
Armenia’s humiliating defeat and loss of disputed territory in late 2020 ultimately sparked massive street rallies and a domestic crisis that pitted Sarkisian against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
‘This is not an emotionally-driven decision and it comes from a specific logic,’ Sarkisian said in a statement on his official website.
‘The president does not have the necessary tools to influence the important processes of foreign and domestic policy in difficult times for the people and the country,’ he said.
At the core of that disagreement was the dismissal of the Armenian military’s chief of staff, and Sarkisian had refused to sign an order from Pashinyan to see him moved, in what was a serious blow to the embattled prime minister.
The out-going president said at the time that the crisis could not be defused through frequent personnel changes.
Sarkisian in his statement late Sunday lashed out at a ‘reality in which the president cannot veto laws that he believes to be bad for the people and the country’.
He added that various political groups in the landlocked country view the office of the presidency not as a boon to Armenia but as ‘a danger to them’.
‘I hope that eventually the constitutional changes will be implemented and the next president and presidential administration will be able to operate in a more balanced environment,‘ the statement added.
The war, which left more than 6,000 dead, saw Russian peacekeepers deployed to the disputed mountainous region.
Armenia’s constitution stipulates that the parliament — which is controlled by parties aligned with Pashinyan — should hold a vote to decide the next president within 35 days.
A former physics professor, Armen Sarkisian, was born in 1953 in the capital Yerevan. He served as prime minister between 1996-1997, according to an official biography.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK