Armenian prime minister backs new elections next year after protests

Person voting

dpa/GNA – Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is holding out the prospect of early parliamentary elections next year, after massive protests hit the South Caucasus republic.

Pashinyan wrote on Facebook on Friday that he was inviting parliamentary and interested, non-parliamentary powers to talks on the subject, though he did not name an exact date for them.

“I am not hanging on to the prime minister’s seat,” he said, though he added that he was ready to continue leading “if the people reaffirm their trust in these difficult times.

Pashinyan has been under massive pressure since the end of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The opposition is calling for his resignation, saying Pashinyan is responsible for the defeat against Azerbaijan.

“There is only one way to get answers to these questions: by holding early parliamentary elections,” he wrote.

Azerbaijan reclaimed large parts of the territory it had lost in the early 1990s in recent fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Fighting broke out on September 27 and lasted until November 9.

In total, more than 4600 people died on both sides – most of them soldiers. On the Armenian side alone, 60 civilians were killed. The conflict itself is decades old.

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