Armenian Premier Warns of Coup as Army Tells Him to Quit
(Bloomberg) -- Armenia’s military demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, plunging the Caucasus nation into fresh political crisis following its defeat to Azerbaijan in the war over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Pashinyan and the government “are no longer able to make proper decisions in this fateful moment of crisis for the Armenian people,” the General Staff of the Army said Thursday in a statement signed by 40 top officers. The military said its demand was triggered by Pashinyan’s dismissal of the first deputy head of the army a day earlier.
Pashinyan said on Facebook that the statement represented the start of an attempted coup and called on his allies to gather in the capital Yerevan’s main Republic Square. He has faced repeated calls to step down, including from Armenia’s president, since signing a Nov. 10 cease-fire accord brokered by Russia that ended the 44-day war with Azerbaijan amid territorial losses in which thousands died.
“The Armed Forces obey the people of the Republic of Armenia, the Prime Minister, there can be no other option,” Pashinyan later told supporters in Republic Square, while appealing for calm. “I think the risk of a coup is manageable, it is an emotional response, we should not treat our brothers very harshly.”
The yield on Armenia’s dollar-denominated bond due in 2029 jumped 14 basis points to 4.25%, the biggest increase since October, following the developments. The yield on the 2031 note rose by 15 basis points, the most since it was issued last month.
Opposition leaders who have demanded Pashinyan’s resignation urged their supporters to join a protest in the capital to call for his departure.
Russia is observing the situation “with concern,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call. “We call on everyone to call down” and resolve the crisis by constitutional methods, he said.
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