President Armen Sarkissian on Friday visited staff of the Armed Forces and had a meeting with the Chief of Staff Colonel-General Onik Gasparyan, who, along with several other top military brass, called for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Thursday.
The president’s press office reported the meeting, without elaborating on details. On Thursday, after the military leaders’ announcement thrust Armenia into a deeper political crisis, Sarkissian vowed to mitigate the situation through consultations with various political forces in Armenia.
Pashinyan fired Gasparyan on Thursday, and sent his dismissal request to Sarkissian office for his signature. Per the Constitution, the President has three days to respond.
Sarkissian’s office on Thursday cited the current situation in Armenia and said that the request was not a “regular change of personnel” application.
“In the existing situation nobody must try to draw the president into political processes in any way,” Sarkissian’s office said in the Thursday evening statement. “Any attempt to put pressure on the president is unacceptable.”
“Based on the need to ensure the normal functioning of state bodies, the president has until now not objected to the appointment and dismissal of state officials [proposed by the prime minister.] But amid martial law and the existing crisis, the dismissal of the chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces after the above-mentioned statement [by the military] would not be a regular personnel change,” the president’s office said, emphasizing the army’s crucial role in defending Armenia.