YEREVAN—Armenia’s Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian resigned on Monday after ten days of unprecedented street protests against his continued rule.
“[Opposition leader] Nikol Pashinian was right,” he said in a written address to the nation. “I was mistaken. There are several solutions to the existing situation but I will not opt for any of them. They are not to my liking.”
“I am resigning from the post of prime minister, leader of the country,” he declared.
“The movement in the streets is against my tenure. I am fulfilling your demand. I wish our country peace, harmony and common sense,” he said.
Read his entire announcement below as provided by the press service of the prime minister’s office.
I appeal to all citizens of the Republic of Armenia,
the elderly and my beloved young people,
women and men,
I am addressing those who have been standing in the streets night and day with the “No to Serzh” slogan, as well as those who kept getting to work with difficulty and did their office duties without complaint,
I appeal to those who followed live news reports for many days, and those who maintained the public order day and night,
I appeal to our brave soldiers and officers standing at the border, I address to my comrades-in-arms,
I turn to my fellow party friends, all political forces and politicians.
I am addressing you for the last time as the country’s leader.
Nikol Pashinyan was right. I was mistaken. There are a number of solutions in the current situation, but I will not resort to any of them. That is not my work style. I am giving up the post of the country’s prime minister.
The movement in the streets is against my tenure. I comply with your demand.
I wish peace, harmony and common sense to our country.
The resignation was preceded by a day of unprecedented and dramatic events, which started at 10 a.m. Sunday morning when Sarkisian walked out of a meeting with Pashinyan, in front of television cameras and journalists, warning the opposition leader to recall the events of March 1, 2008, when 10 people died during protests against Sarkisian’s election as president.
That statement was widely viewed as a threat by the former prime minister that he would unleash the same violent wrath on the tens of thousands of protesters, mainly young people.
Soon after the meeting, Pashinyan, along with two other of his Yelk bloc members were arrested by police, prompting a larger, more decisive protest rally on Sunday evening at Republic Square, where media outlets reported some 70,000 people gathered to voice their opposition to Sarkisian’s continued rule.
Early Monday morning, people began marching on the streets of Yerevan, while Deputy Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan ordered the release of Pashinyan and his colleagues, Ararat Mirzoyan and Sasoun Mikaelyan.
At around 5:30 p.m. local time on Monday, the prime minister’s office release Sarkisian resignation statement, sparking jubilant protests on the streets of Yerevan and a call for a rally.