Armen Sarkissian says he believes the country’s constitution does not give the president sufficient powers to influence events.
Armenian President Armen Sarkissian announced his resignation, citing the inability of his office to influence policy in times of national crisis.
Sarkissian, president since 2018, was in the midst of a domestic political crisis last year that erupted in the wake of a war between Armenia and its longtime rival Azerbaijan for control of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh Region.
He was involved in a battle with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan last year over a number of issues, including the dismissal of the head of the armed forces in the aftermath of the war and amid protests that took place on the streets of the Caucasus nation. brought.
“This is not an emotionally-driven decision and it comes from a specific logic,” Sarkissian said Sunday in a statement on his official website.
“The president does not have the necessary tools to influence the important processes of foreign and domestic policy in difficult times for the people and the country,” he said.
“I hope that the constitutional changes will eventually be implemented and that the next president and presidential administration will be able to function in a more balanced environment,” he added.
Following a referendum in December 2015, Armenia became a parliamentary republic, and presidential powers were significantly curtailed – meaning that the role of prime minister is considered more powerful.
The president’s statement did not directly refer to any specific events or issues.
Armenia agreed to a ceasefire with Azerbaijan at their border last November, after Russia urged them to withdraw from confrontation after the deadliest clash since a six-week war in 2020 when Moscow also mediated a peace deal to end the hostilities.
Sarkissian at the time criticized the fact that he was not included in the negotiations.
Prime Minister Pashinyan has been under pressure ever since, with regular street protests demanding his resignation over the terms of the peace deal. Under the 2020 agreement mediate by Russia, Azerbaijan regained control of the area it lost during a war in the early 1990s.
Armenia seceded from the Soviet Union in 1991, but remains dependent on Russia for aid and investment.
Armenia’s economy has struggled since the Soviet collapse and money sent home by Armenians abroad has helped build schools, churches and other infrastructure projects, including in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Many Armenians accuse the government of corruption and mismanagement of an economy that has struggled to overcome the legacy of central planning.