Armenian President Armen Sarkissian on Saturday rejected a request by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to dismiss the Chief of General Staff Onik Gasparyan.
Pashinyan said he would reapply to the President to asking for the removal of the Chief of General Staff.
“Dear compatriots, the President has decided to return the draft decree on the dismissal of the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces to the Prime Minister’s Office rejected.
This decision does not promote the resolution of the current situation. In due course, I will once again send a request to the president for the dismissal of the Chief of General Staff, awaiting his signature,” Pashinyan said.
Earlier, Sarkissian rejected Gasparyan’s removal, saying Pashinyan’s request to dismiss the army chief was unconstitutional.
“The President of the Republic, within his constitutional powers, returned the draft decree with objections… Generalizing the views of lawyers and experts, the conclusion is that the draft decree is essentially in conflict with the Constitution,” the presidency of Armenia said with an announcement on its website.
The presidency stressed that Sarkissian did not support either parties and that his decision was guided solely by the national interests.
According to the presidency, the current political situation in the country is without precedent and should be resolved through integrated decisions and not individual reshuffles in the command of the armed forces.
At the same time, the Armenian opposition is organizing large-scale demonstrations inside and outside the capital, demanding the resignation of the prime minister and his government.
In Yerevan, traffic has been suspended in part of the city center as 10,000 protesters have gathered outside parliament.