STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL)–The government crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh took a new turn Thursday as thousands of Armenia’s converged on Stepanakert to participate in a mass demonstration to demand that Defense Minister Lt.-Gen. Samvel Babayan be appointed prime minister. The rally was organized by supporters of Babayan–who is at the center of a month-long crisis that has already resulted in the resignation of Prime Minister Leonard Petrossian.
The rally followed Wednesday’s refusal by the Nagorno-Karabakh parliament–which is controlled by the defense minister’s supporters–to allow President Arkady Ghoukassian to assume duties of prime minister. One speaker at the rally advocated that Babayan should combine the posts of defense minister and premier.
A second speaker argued that pre-term presidential elections should be called if Ghoukassian rejects the demonstrators’ deman’s.
Visiting Stepanakert on Wednesday in an attempt to defuse the crisis–Armenian Defense Minister Vazgen Sarkisian said that all solutions are acceptable to Yerevan.