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Armenian prime minister announces early parliamentary poll on June 20

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan (Photo by Reuters)

Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has announced an early parliamentary election on June 20, amid high tensions with the country’s army which called for his resignation last month.

“Based on discussions I have had with Armenia's president, the 'My Step' faction and with the leader of the Bright Armenia faction... special parliamentary elections will be held on June 20,” Pashinyan wrote on Facebook.

Last month, the General Staff of the Armenian army issued a statement, signed by the country’s top military officers, demanding that Pashinyan and his government step down.

The move prompted Pashinyan to fire the army’s Chief of General Staff Onik Gasparyan, saying the military’s call for his resignation amounted to an effective coup.

The Armenian premier has faced calls to resign over what his critics describe as his mishandling of the 2020 conflict with the Republic of Azerbaijan, including a November 6 ceasefire agreement with Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The truce deal, which left Azerbaijan largely in control of the territory, sparked angry protests in Armenia. Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan was forced to resign amid growing discontent across the South Caucasus nation.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but has been populated by ethnic Armenians.

Azerbaijani forces gained the upper hand and retrieved large swathes of land in the recent conflict between the two ex-Soviet republics.

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