YEREVAN (A.W.)—Negotiations scheduled for tomorrow between acting Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan and Nikol Pashinyan—a central figure in the demonstrations that ousted Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian on Monday—will not take place, after all.
“I would like to inform that the scheduled meeting will not take place as Nikol Pashinyan has unilaterally put forward new conditions with respect to the format, the agenda, and [media] coverage of the meeting,” read a statement released by Karapetyan’s office.
A fresh call for demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience was issued by Pashinyan following the news of the canceled meeting.
Sarkisian resigned from his post as Armenia’s Prime Minister on April 23, after nearly two weeks of protests, demonstrations, and acts of civil disobedience across Yerevan and other parts of the country calling for his resignation.
According to Karapetyan, Pashinyan has tried to dictate the list of participants from the government and has stated that he would exclusively discuss his own agenda. “This is not a negotiation or dialogue, but presentation of one’s own agenda and point of view,” the statement read.
Karapetyan noted that he had never heard of such a format of one-sidedness throughout his years of experience in negotiating.
“Concerned about the current situation, as the head of the executive power I appeal to the President of the Republic of Armenia to organize a meeting with a board range of parliamentary and extra-parliamentary political forces, to discuss the current internal political situation and find possible ways out of it,” noted Karapetyan.
At a press conference, which was streamed live through various news outlets, Pashinyan said that no member of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), including Karen Karapetyan, can become the Prime Minister of Armenia.
“The RPA does not exist, only its ghost remains,” Pashinyan told reporters. “I do not need any guarantees from the RPA. We have a stronger guarantee, a guarantee of the people and the Diaspora. I do not see any force that can resist the people of Armenia,” he added. Pashinyan also said that he would be against Karapetyan’s nomination even if he left the RPA.
When asked about his own potential nomination for the post, Pashinyan noted that he would not refuse “if the people put such responsibility” on him. “We must ensure free elections in Armenia. The political crisis began at the time when people totally stopped trusting elections. The first thing we need to do is reform the election code,” Pashinyan said.
Following the press conference, Pashinyan noted on his Facebook that the RPA should not be able to retain its power by sacrificing its leader.
“The issue is not in the person—Serge Sarkisian—but in the system. And we can not accept that a RPA representative will become the prime minister. There is every reason to suspect that the RPA is trying to use citizens’ jubilation about Sarkisian’s resignation in order to retain its power. The RPA can not remain in power. The people won, and victory must be secured,” Pashinyan noted.
The opposition leader then urged citizen’s to resume demonstrations at Republic Square at 11 am on Wednesday.