Opposition rallies continue ahead of Pashinyan no-confidence vote

“Tavush for the Homeland” rallies, led by Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, continue to grow as opposition parties in parliament formulate a strategy to win a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.  

Tavush for the Homeland rally, May 12, 2024 (Photo: David Ghahramanyan)

During a May 12th rally, which attracted thousands, several public figures, religious leaders and activists addressed the attendees to deliver an update on the movement while encouraging everyone to contribute to its growth.

Archbishop Galstanyan announced during the rally, “I met with independent MP Ishkhan Zakaryan to get his opinion, and he did not refuse to join the process. So, for the first time, we can say that the opposition factions have overcome the first stage, which is important to note…but two extremely important issues remain to be solved – the issue of the prime ministerial candidate and the support of the missing 18 MPs. In the coming days, we must solve these issues together.”

The opposition “Armenia” and “I Have Honor” blocs announced when marchers from Tavush reached the capital that they would bring a no-confidence vote to the National Assembly. They control 35 seats in the 107-member National Assembly, just one vote short of the requirement to formally introduce a motion of censure.

The two factions would also have to secure at least 18 more votes from deputies representing Pashinyan’s Civil Contract party. Meanwhile, Radio Free Liberty is reporting that Civil Contract lawmakers have “expressed confidence that none of their pro-government colleagues will break ranks to vote against Pashinyan” and have declared their loyalty to Pashinyan on social media. However, the Civil Contract Party has also reportedly resorted to orchestrated manipulation on social media to discredit the movement and tarnish the reputation of its main leaders, and sponsored posts in the last week have become very common among pro-government news outlets and social media pages.

Archbishop Galstanyan indicated that he will use more street protests to increase pressure on the ruling party’s parliamentary group.

Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan addressing the crowd at the Tavush for the Homeland rally, May 12, 2024 (Photo: David Ghahramanyan)

“Gradually, with patience, perseverance and faith, we will achieve the victory of truth. I want to tell you honestly, very honestly, I have been open and transparent on this stage, some have criticized me, it doesn’t matter. Yes, I am speaking very sincerely, I am ready to take any responsibility with the blessing of the Armenian Patriarch, by the will of God and by the will of our people. A candidate for prime minister cannot be a member of any party or group,” said Archbishop Galstanyan.

During the rally, Archbishop Bagrat was informed that the road to Bagratashen was closed as a sign of support for the “Tavush for the Homeland” movement.

The date for his next major rally is not yet set; it will be announced when there is more clarity on the motion of censure as well as the key question of who should replace Pashinyan as prime minister. Under the Armenian constitution, in order to trigger a no-confidence vote, parliamentary factions must simultaneously nominate a prime ministerial candidate. Galstanyan added that he will discuss potential candidates with the parliamentary opposition and supporters of the movement.

At the end of each day, movement participants gather in the courtyard of St. Anna Church to review the day’s progress. Archbishop Galstanyan then outlines the tasks for the following day.

The “Tavush for the Homeland” movement reached Yerevan for a massive rally on May 9 following a five-day march that began in Kirants, one of the villages in the northern Tavush province adjacent to the border areas that Pashinyan’s government wants to surrender to Azerbaijan. Galstanyan, for the first time, demanded Pashinian’s resignation during that rally.

Currently, the country’s main opposition forces have shown support for the Tavush protests, and it is clear that while they may not be leading the campaign, their involvement and endorsement lend significant weight to the movement. Additionally, diaspora organizations from around the world have shown their support for the movement. Cities across the globe, especially in the U.S., have organized numerous rallies to express their support and solidarity with the movement.

4 Comments

  1. Bagrat Srbazan’s sudden and unexpected rise as a major political opposition leader in Armenia is nothing short of miraculous. Bishop Bagrat may actually be Armenia’s last hope. After six years of Western and Turkish financed nightmare in Armenia, there may actually be some hope.

  2. Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan is a true hero!

    He is everything that that coward Pashinyan is not; courageous and brave!

    He is a real Armenian man!

    Revolution now!

    All power to Bagrat!

  3. “All those ‘apolitical’ Pashinyan apologists who claimed they were waiting this whole time for an impossibly pure leader to fall from the sky –

    Well here he is.

    And they’re losing their minds.

    Perhaps it’s time to admit that Nikol – in all his vulgarity, cowardice and self-loathing – represents you”

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