Armenian president quits over lack of influence in ‘difficult times’
Armenian President Armen Sarkisian has that he was resigning his largely ceremonial position, citing the inability of his office to influence policy during times of national crisis.
The announcement comes 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 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 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 country view the office of the presidency not as a boon to Armenia but as “a danger to them.”