YEREVAN -- Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian says he is resigning from his post in order to dissolve parliament and force early elections.
Speaking on national television, Pashinian said late on October 16 that he will continue to perform his functions as prime minister until general elections are held.
He also expressed readiness to continue to lead the government should his political party gain a majority in the elections.
Pashinian has pushed for early elections by the end of this year following his bloc's landslide victory in the mayoral race in the capital, Yerevan, last month in a bid to unseat his political opponents, who have maintained a majority in parliament.
A former opposition lawmaker, Pashinian took office in May after spearheading weeks of protests that forced his predecessor, Serzh Sarkisian of the Republican Party of Armenia (HKK), to resign.
The HHK-dominated parliament yielded to the popular demand of the protesters to back Pashinian's candidacy for prime minister. After being elected to the post in May, Pashinian said his government would hold early parliamentary elections within a year.
In remarks ahead of a government meeting on October 16, Pashinian said Armenia is entering "a new historical period" during which "it should complete the nonviolent velvet revolution that started in spring."
Arman Egoian, a spokesman for Pashinian, told RFE/RL on October 15 that the cabinet will hold an extraordinary session a day after Pashinian announced his resignation.
Under the Armenian Constitution, snap elections can be called only if the prime minister resigns and the parliament fails to replace him or her with someone else within two weeks.
Under the constitution, new elections then shall be held no earlier than in 30 days and no later than in 45 days -- approximately in the first half of December.
RFE/RL's Armenian Service
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