Velvet Revolution a Success: Sargsyan Resigns

Prime Minister of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, who was appointed as Armenia’s PM on April 17, was forced to resign a week later under the increasing pressure of mass, country-wide protest movements against his rule.

Although he was sure that after changing the constitution of the country, he would be able to keep the power in his hands following his last presidential term, it seems this was not what the people of Armenia wanted.

Neither the repressions of the opposition activists nor the arrests of the opposition leaders was enough to stop the huge popular movement against his premiership.

On Monday afternoon, the peacekeeping battalion based in Yerevan joined demonstrators in a march through the city.

On Sunday, following the detention of two opposition leaders and numerous citizens, the international community began to call on Armenia to find a peaceful resolution, while today the Russian president’s spokesperson Dmitri Peskov announced that "whatever is happening in Armenia is Armenia’s internal affair only and Russia cannot and will not intervene."

As such, Sargsyan’s government were forced to release the detained opposition leaders. Hours later, the PM's Office released the statement of Sargyan’s reluctant resignation.

Sargsyan came to the presidency in 2008 as a result of widely criticized and challenged presidential elections, with his main opponent his former boss, the first President of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrosian (1991-1998) who had huge popular support.

A 10-day sit-in and demonstrations at the time were seriously harming Sargsyan’s victory and led the government to open fire against the peaceful demonstration on March 1, 2008, killing at least 10 demonstrators and finally allowing Sargsyan's team to take the president’s office.

Over 10 years, Armenia's foreign debt arose almost six times, becoming nearly 7 billion; poverty rose to 40%, and 350,000 people migrated from Armenia.

Demonstrations which started a week ago were among the most powerful the country has witnessed since the independence in 1991.

According to the plan suggested by opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan, soon parliament will elect an opposition representative as the new Prime Minister of the country, later, he says, they must work to dissolve the parliament elected on April 2017 and set new parliamentary elections.

At time of going to press, the population of Armenia is celebrating its long awaited victory and hoping finally to establish democracy in the country.

The demonstrators began national celebrations after the PM's office released Sargsyan's resignation text.

BY Karen Tovmasyan, Armenia

23 April 2018 18:36