Pashinyan says will step down in April

Pashinyan says will step down in April

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has announced plans to resign in April in order to hold early elections.

On Sunday, Pashinyan met with the citizens of Armenia’s Armavir Region. "I will resign in April. I will resign not to resign, but in order for early elections to take place," he told a crowd during a visit.

"I will continue to serve as interim prime minister," he added.

On March 18, Pashinyan said after holding political consultations with the president and leaders of three parliamentary factions that snap parliamentary polls would take place on June 20. However, after this announcement the opposition made a statement that the protests, which have engulfed the country since late February, would not stop.

Pashinyan has been under increasing pressure to step down following a military defeat against neighboring Azerbaijan and an ongoing spat with Armenian military leaders, DW recalls.

In the ensuing row between the government and the military, the military joined calls for Pashinyan's resignation.

The prime minister in turn tried to remove the military's chief of staff Onik Gasparyan, claiming that there had effectively been an attempted coup. Gasparyan refused to step down and President Armen Sarkisian refused to enforce the prime minister's order.

Thousands of protesters have also called on Pashinyan to leave power, blaming him for the country's military defeat.