Armenia’s prime minister Serzh Sargsyan resigned, six days after being overwhelmingly voted in by the parliament dominated by the Republican Party he leads. The resignation came amid massive opposition-led protests against Sargsyan continuing to stay in power after he concluded two five-year terms as president (2008-18). Sargsyan had previously pledged not to run for prime minister. In a statement issued on April 23, Sargsyan acknowledged that he “was wrong” in reading the public reaction to his move.
For the past 10 years, Sargsyan has been Armenia’s leading negotiator on Karabakh with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev. On April 9, Aliyev was voted into his fourth-term expected to last until 2025. The two last met in October 2017 and promised to reduce frontline tensions in order to resume negotiations. While tensions reduced there were no further negotiations with both Aliyev and Sargsyan focused on domestic developments.
Born in Stepanakert in 1954, Sargsyan graduated from Yerevan State University and worked for the local government in the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast in the 1970s and 80s. By the early 1990s, he became the main coordinator of Nagorno Karabakh Self-Defense Forces. From 1993 to 1995 and again from 2000 to 2007, Sargsyan was Armenia’s defense minister and played a leading role in the development of the Armenian military in those years and since.
UPDATE: While the election of a new prime minister is expected May 1, first deputy prime minister Karen Karapetyan temporarily leads the government, with all ministers continuing to function in acting capacity.