YEREVAN (Reuters/Noyan Tapan)–Following pressures from various political circles in Armenia–including the National Democratic Union and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation–Levon Ter-Petrosyan resigned from office.
"I have faced deman’s to resign," he said in a statement read over telephone to Reuters by a spokesman. "Considering that in this situation exercising the president’s constitutional powers may cause a serious destabilization of the situation–I accept this demand and announce my resignation.”
At 9:50 p.m. Tuesday evening–the state television of Armenia broadcast the speech by Ter-Petrosyan–the entire text of which follows:
"Certain well-known powers demanded my resignation. Considering that in this situation exercising the president’s constitutional powers may cause a serious destabilization of the situation–I accept this demand and announce my resignation.
I refrain from commenting or assessing the current situation so as not to aggravate it. However–it is necessary to note that speculation regarding the Karabakh problem serving as the cause for the recent crisis is untrue. The Karabakh problem is much more grave. It is related to the fundamental principle of statehood and the alternative between peace and war.
Time will prove who did what for Karabakh and who is indeed selling it. Nothing extraordinary has happened. The party of "peace and solidarity" [referring to the ANM] has simply lost. Let us not elaborate this loss into complexes. The party of peace has suffered defeat in more developed countries–like Israel. However–both in Israel and in Armenia–everything is transient. This is just a temporary defeat. Either way–sooner or later–peace will eventually pave its own path.
I call on you to display restraint–keep the order in the country and run legal–civilized elections for a new president. That will be a manifestation of the level of our state’s maturity which we have achieved within the last eight years–and help maintain our international image.
For the good and welfare of the Armenian people–I wish the new president success. I am very grateful to you for your trust and support.
I also express my gratitude to all my supporters who were beside me at all times–and remain with me today.
If I have arrived at the decision to resign–believe me–that means I consider the alternative to be more dangerous for our state. If I have done something good–I do not expect gratitude. I ask for your forgiveness for all my errors and duties which remain unfulfilled.
With best regards."
Under the Armenian Constitution–Ter-Petrosyan’s resignation must be approved by a simple majority in the 190-seat parliament. New presidential elections should then be held within 40 days–during which time the parliamentary speaker is acting president. Should the Chairman of the National Assembly not be able to fulfill his duties–presidential duties will go to the Prime Minister.
The power struggle caused a split in Ter-Petrosyan’s ruling Republic (Hanrapetutiun) bloc on Monday and prompted a wave of resignations from several senior officials including Foreign Minister Alexander Arzoumanian–Central Bank chief Bagrat Asatryan and Regional Affairs Minister Galust Gamazyan.