Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan has resigned over his government’s failure to carry out proper measures to put an end to the current political and economic crisis in the country.
"We need a new approach, new start. That's why I've decided to resign and let the president form a new government," Abrahamyan said as he tendered his resignation during a government meeting on Thursday.
His announcement follows weeks of unrest and violence and a sharp economic slowdown this year.
Abrahamyan’s resignation paves the way for the cabinet to resign and President Serzh Sarksyan to appoint a new prime minister following consultations with parliament.
Abrahamyan, who is a former parliamentary speaker and an economist by training, was appointed prime minister two years ago.
After he came to power as prime minister, economy started to become progressively worse as economic growth in Armenia dropped from 3.5 percent in 2014 to 3 percent in 2015. For 2016, the government expects the economic growth to plunge even further to 2.2 percent.
This comes as the Armenian government recently witnessed rising tensions in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, and in April new clashes broke out between pro-Armenia militants and Azeri forces in the region, which is located in the Republic of Azerbaijan but populated by Armenians. According to reports, nearly 75 servicemen from both sides along with a number of civilians were killed in the latest skirmishes between the two neighbors.
In July, a standoff started in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, when a group of 30 armed men seized a police station and took hostages. Two police officers were killed during the two-week stand-off, before gunmen, believed to be war veterans, surrendered to the authorities.
The incident led to mass protests in the capital.
Anti-government protesters took to the streets demanding Abrahamyan’s resignation and the release of a jailed opposition politician linked to the gunmen involved in the incident.
Following the events, the president called for radical reforms in the government’s policies and declared that "a government of national accord" needed to be formed to meet the protesters’ demands.
It is not clear yet who would lead the government but according to local media, Karen Karapetyan, a former mayor of Yerevan, is expected to replace Abrahamyan as the new prime minister.