Armenia has been swept by mass protests since early November 2020 in the wake of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signing an agreement with Azerbaijan to end hostilities in the breakaway republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, viewed by Armenians as a defeat in the long-lasting conflict.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that he will resign in April, ahead of early parliamentary elections in the country.
“Yes, I will resign very soon, in April — not to leave, but for snap elections to take place. Until they happen, I will remain a caretaker prime minister,” Pashinyan said.
According to the country’s constitution, in order to hold early parliamentary elections, the authorities must lift the martial law, declared in Armenia in late September due to the escalation of the conflict in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Armenia has seen numerous protests since Pashinyan signed a Russia-brokered ceasefire deal with Azerbaijan over the disputed Karabakh region in November. Under the agreement, both countries stopped hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh region and remained at whatever positions they were holding at the time.
As a result, Azerbaijan gained control over some territories. Russian peacekeepers have since been deployed at the contact line.
Protesters in Armenia have been calling for Pashinyan to step down.
The decades-long Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan flared up in late September, resulting in the significant military and civilian casualties on both sides.
The conflict began in February 1988, when the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its secession from the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic. During an armed confrontation in 1992-1994, Azerbaijan lost control of Nagorno-Karabakh and its adjacent areas. Since 1992, talks were ongoing on peaceful settlement of the conflict with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group, led by Russia, the United States and France.