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Pro-Government Deputies Boycott Armenian Parliament Session Amid Calls for PM Pashinyan's Resignation

Pro-Government Deputies Boycott Armenian Parliament Session Amid Calls for PM Pashinyan's Resignation

On Monday, pro-government deputies boycotted a session of the Armenian parliament to prevent a debate on opposition demands for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation. These demands have been fueled by over a month of street protests in Yerevan.

The National Assembly had scheduled this debate after receiving enough signatures from opposition lawmakers in the Hayastan and Pativ Unem alliances. The opposition drafted a resolution claiming Pashinyan’s government has failed in defending Armenia's security and territorial integrity, and must be replaced by experienced professionals trusted by the public.

However, the opposition did not attempt a vote of no confidence, knowing the ruling Civil Contract party controls the 107-member parliament. None of the 71 Civil Contract deputies have defected to the opposition despite the protests led by Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, and none attended the scheduled session.

With only 34 opposition deputies present, the National Assembly failed to make a quorum. Parliament Speaker Alen Simonyan defended the boycott, stating the majority would not support the opposition's agenda and believes Pashinyan’s government remains legitimate.

Meanwhile, thousands of Galstanyan's supporters rallied outside the parliament building. The archbishop criticized the boycott but expressed determination to continue fighting for Pashinyan’s removal with renewed energy and new methods. Galstanyan emphasized the need for his protest movement to become more participatory and vigorous.

Despite not yet toppling Pashinyan, Galstanyan remained optimistic, claiming the movement is setting the agenda in Armenia after holding the largest demonstrations since the 2018 "velvet revolution." He likened the ongoing struggle to a football game, saying, "This is going to be our second half. We achieved serious success in the first half."

Galstanyan did not provide specific details on his next moves but mentioned plans to tour more regions and hold a conference of youth groups and activists on Saturday.

The opposition’s failure to influence the National Assembly has led to renewed calls for the 35 deputies from the Hayastan and Pativ Unem blocs to resign and challenge the legitimacy of the legislature controlled by Pashinyan. Galstanyan suggested that such a move should not be rushed.

“The time for that will definitely come,” he stated without further explanation.

The anti-government protests began in Armenia’s northern Tavush province in April after Pashinyan announced his decision to cede several local border areas to Azerbaijan. Galstanyan, who was then the head of the Tavush diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, quickly became the leader of these protests. After failing to stop the controversial land transfer, he shifted the protests to Yerevan and first demanded Pashinyan’s resignation during a massive rally on May 9.

Pashinyan has accused foreign intelligence agents of being involved in the protests, with some political allies branding Galstanyan a Russian spy. Galstanyan and opposition leaders have dismissed these allegations as laughable.


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