The office of President Armen Sarkissian said on Tuesday that he intends to apply to Armenia’s Constitutional Court to get legal clarity on the matter of dismissing the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Colonel-General Onik Gasparyan.
Late last month, Gasparyan, along with Armenia’s top military brass, called for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who immediately fired him and sent the decree for approval by the president, who did not comply with the prime minister’s request saying that the request did not constitute a regular personnel shuffling. Last week, Pashinyan submitted a second request to fire Gasparyan last week and the president signaled that he would send the matter to the Constitutional Court.
Gasparyan’s announcement was hailed by the opposition, whose Homeland Salvation Movement has been demanding Pashinyan’s resignation and pledging its unequivocal support to the military. However, some opposition leaders criticized Sarkissian for not directing the matter to the country’s high court, citing a March 9 deadline for this submission.
In an announcement issued late Tuesday evening local time, the president’s office clarified there is no deadline for Sarkissian to apply to the Constitutional Court. The statement also admonished some political forces for “manipulating” the issue, which has created unnecessary confusion.
“Different political forces, figures and individuals have been making certain comments, clarifications and providing analysis on the terms of the President’s application to the Constitutional Court,” said the president’s office statement. “By manipulating this issue, a misconception has been formed that March 9 is the deadline to apply to the Constitutional Court.”
“Such opinions are unfounded. There is no deadline for applying to the Constitutional Court, and the President of the Republic will soon apply to the Constitutional Court with a request to decide on the compatibility of the Law on Military Status and Status of Serviceman, as announced earlier,” explained the President’s office.
“The President of the Republic once again calls for calm and restraint,” concluded the statement.