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Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addressing the nation in Yerevan, Armenia, Nov. 12, 2020. Source: AFP.
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  • Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has condemned what he called “an attempted coup” after the country’s military demanded he quit on Thursday
  • It’s the latest development to plunge the country in crisis, following a six-week war between ethnic Armenian forces and Azerbaijan
  • Since the war, Pashinyan has faced several calls for his resignation, but this is the first time the military has weighed in
  • Pashinyan said he takes responsibility for what happened in Nagorno-Karabakh but has refused to quit, claiming he is needed to ensure Armenia’s security
  • He argued that “the army cannot be involved in political processes; the army should obey the people and the political power elected by people”

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has condemned what he called “an attempted coup” after the country’s military demanded he quit on Thursday.

The written demand is the latest development to plunge the former Soviet republic into crisis, following a six-week war between ethnic Armenian forces and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region just a few months ago.

Since the war, Pashinyan has faced several calls for his resignation, but this is the first time the military has weighed in.

“The ineffective management of the current authorities and the serious mistakes in foreign policy have put the country on the brink of collapse,” the army’s general staff and other senior military officials said in a statement.

Two former presidents, Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sarksyan, also called on Armenians to throw their support behind the military, but it remains unclear whether the army is willing to use force to back its statement.

Russia, which is traditionally a close ally and has a military base in Armenia, said it was alarmed by the news, calling it a domestic matter that Armenia should resolve peacefully and within the constitution.

During a fiery speech to several thousands people in the capital Yerevan, Pashinyan told his followers to rally in support.

“The army cannot be involved in political processes; the army should obey the people and the political power elected by people,” he said.

A former journalist who came to power in a peaceful revolution in May 2018, Pashinyan said he takes responsibility for what happened in Nagorno-Karabakh but has refused to quit, claiming he is needed to ensure Armenia’s security.

“The most important problem now is to keep the power in the hands of the people, because I consider what is happening to be a military coup,” he said.

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