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Celebrations have erupted after Armenian Prime Minister, Serzh Sargsyan, steps down from his role after eleven days of consecutive protests against his Government in the former Soviet Republic.
Having only been elected this month, Sargsyan’s election erupted unrest throughout Armenia, particularly in the Nation’s capital, Yerevan. For days, the Anti-Government protest had gained momentum, calling out Sargsyan Government over corruption and authoritarian-style mandate. Concurrently, hundreds of unarmed Armenian soldiers joined protests that have rocked the political scene of Armenia. Demonstrators wrestled with Armenian police and dozens were arrested as protestors staged sit-ins and blocked areas.
The country was suffering institutionally under Sargsyan, and with the former President staring at a limiting term, Sargsyan vowed that he would not run for President again. However, the Armenian Constitution was amended – due mainly to his initiations – enhancing the strength of the Prime Minister within Armenian Government that left the Presidential role largely ceremonial. Although this was enforced by a successful referendum, many believe that the former Prime Minister had, in fact, manipulated convention to conquer mandate for the tenth year in a row, hence why protests demanded that Sargsyan resigns from power.
Sargsyan’s rise to power was never deemed peaceful, his initial election to power was marked by protests that saw hundreds injured and eight Armenians dead. During his terms, any Anti-Governmental protests, even those with that were peaceful, were met with violence, which has hurt Sargsyan’s public image.
The country suffers from around 30% of the population living in poverty, and Armenia cannot afford the same economic approach that has existed throughout the last ten years. Therefore, Anti-Sargysyan protests were essential for real change.
Eventually, Sargsyan humiliatingly resigned after the Armenian public made it clear they would not let him cling onto power longer. The opposition party leader, Nikol Pashinian, was also detained and released amidst the protests. Pashinian had been a key actor throughout the Yerevan protests and called applauded protests, naming them a “people’s revolution.” Pashinian and Sargsyan attended a meeting together during the protests however, it resulted in Sargsyan walking out and telling journalists to “draw your own conclusions.”
Despite the fact that the protests were generally steady and composed, there is no denying that Armenia was on the brink of a violent outburst with the Government’s response becoming increasingly inhumane. Therefore, his resignation is preserving the peace of Armenia.
It is clear Armenians want a fresh future and distance from corruption. They want to move forward with democracy and build themselves a new nation as they push forward a free nation.
The resignation of the Prime Minister demonstrates that humanity is essentially the foundation of institutions, as these protests marked desires from individuals for peace. Currently, protests have turned into cheering, as thousands of people are now celebrating the resignation.
Armenia is uniting over desires for change and was rewarded, only emphasizing that Armenia has the people’s power to constitute change.