Armenian premier steps down, maneuvering for early election

October 16, 2018 - 9:17 am

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Armenia's prime minister has stepped down, a political maneuver aimed at forcing an early election.

Nikol Pashinian, who took office in May after spearheading weeks of protests that forced the resignation of his predecessor, has pushed for an early parliamentary election this fall in a bid to unseat foes who maintain a majority. He announced his resignation live on national television.

Early elections are held if lawmakers fail to appoint a prime minister, and Pashinian persuaded his opponents not to nominate any candidates. He led thousands of supporters to besiege parliament earlier this month to force his foes to accept an early vote.

Pashinian, a former journalist, tapped public anger over the widespread poverty, high unemployment and rampant corruption that flourished under the old government.