Armenian President Armen Sarkissian resigns for lack of influence | Political news
Armen Sarkissian says he thinks the country’s constitution does not give the president sufficient powers to influence events.
Armenian President Armen Sarkissian has announced his resignation, citing his office’s inability to influence policy at a time of national crisis.
Sarkissian, president since 2018, was at the center of a domestic political crisis last year that erupted following a war between Armenia and longtime rival Azerbaijan over control of the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
He was embroiled in a confrontation with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan last year over a number of issues, including the dismissal of the armed forces chief following the war and amid protests that drew thousands of people on the streets of the Caucasus nation.
“It’s not an emotional decision and it comes from a specific logic,” Sarkissian said Sunday in a statement posted on his official website.
“The president lacks the tools to influence important foreign and domestic policy processes in difficult times for the people and the country,” he said.
“I hope that eventually the constitutional changes will be implemented and that the next president and the presidential administration can operate in a more balanced environment,” he added.
After a referendum in December 2015, Armenia became a parliamentary republic and presidential powers were significantly reduced, meaning the role of prime minister is considered more powerful.
The president’s statement did not directly refer to any particular event or issue.
Armenia agreed to a ceasefire with Azerbaijan last November on their border, after Russia urged them to pull out of the confrontation following the deadliest clash since a six-year war weeks in 2020, when Moscow also brokered a peace deal to end hostilities.
At the time, Sarkissian criticized the fact that he had not been included in the negotiations.
Prime Minister Pashinyan has been under pressure ever since, with regular street protests demanding he resign over the terms of the peace deal. Under the Russian-brokered 2020 deal, Azerbaijan regained control of territory it lost in a war in the early 1990s.
Armenia seceded from the Soviet Union in 1991 but remains dependent on Russia for aid and investment.
Armenia’s economy has struggled since the Soviet collapse, and money sent by Armenians abroad has helped build schools, churches and other infrastructure projects, including in Nagorno-Karabakh .
Many Armenians accuse the government of corruption and mismanagement of an economy that is struggling to overcome the legacy of central planning.