President resigns citing ‘inability to help his country’

Armenia’s President Armen Sarksyan has announced his resignation, pointing to a lack of constitutional powers needed for meaningful change

After nearly four years in office, Armenian President Armen Sarksyan on Sunday announced his early resignation. The leader cited “the lack of necessary instruments to influence the fundamental processes in internal and foreign politics” as one of the major reasons behind his decision.

He pointed in particular to the fact that a president in Armenia cannot “veto laws he deems unreasonable” or “influence issues related to war and peace.” Sarksyan also decried the fact that the president “lacks constitutional instruments to help his country” at a time when the world is going through a period of “constant turbulence.”

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The presidential office “should not become a target for gossips and conspiracies” that draw public attention away from more important issues, Sarkysan said, in a statement published on Sunday. He did not elaborate, but went on to describe the present situation in Armenia as a “national crisis.”

Armenia became a parliamentary republic back in 2015 following a referendum that slashed presidential powers. Under its new Constitution, a president is elected by the nation’s parliament every seven years.

Sarksyan is a veteran politician who briefly served as Armenia’s prime minister between 1996 and 1997 before taking up the role of Armenia’s ambassador to the UK and representing his nation in London for the next 20 years, 1998 to 2018.

He was elected president of Armenia in March 2018, shortly before the massive protests that saw the nation’s current prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, taking up the head-of-government post in May of that year.

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