On Sunday (Jan 23), Armenian President Armen Sarkissian announced his resignation, claiming that the country’s constitution did not provide him the ability to affect events.
Last year, Sarkissian, who has been president since 2018, had a stalemate with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on a number of topics, including the firing of the military chief.
A prime minister’s function is regarded as more powerful than that of a president.
“I have been thinking for a long time, I have decided to resign from the post of the President of the Republic after working actively for about four years,” in a statement posted on the president’s official website, Sarkissian remarked.
“The question may arise as to why the President failed to influence the political events that led us to the current national crisis. The reason is obvious again – the lack of appropriate tools … – the Constitution. The roots of some of our potential problems are hidden in the current Basic Law.”
Armenia became a parliamentary republic after a referendum in December 2015, with presidential powers considerably reduced.
Sarkissian did not mention any specific events or difficulties in his statement.
Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a truce along their border in November after Russia urged them to avoid confrontation following the worst encounter since a six-week war in 2020, when Moscow also brokered a ceasefire.
Since then, Prime Minister Pashinyan has been under fire, with regular street demonstrations calling for him to resign over the conditions of the ceasefire accord. Azerbaijan regained possession of territory it had lost during a war in the early 1990s thanks to a settlement struck by Russia in 2020.
Although Armenia broke apart from the Soviet Union in 1991, it is still reliant on Russia for help and investment. Many Armenians criticise the administration of corruption and mismanagement of an economy still recovering from the effects of central planning.