PM Nikol Pashinyan meeting with Prosperous Armenia party leader Gagik Tsarukyan

YEREVAN — Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has agreed to hold early parliamentary elections in June in an effort to defuse a political crisis sparked by the war with Azerbaijan over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Pashinyan said in a post on Facebook on March 18 that following talks with the leader of the opposition parliamentary faction Prosperous Armenia, Gagik Tsarukyan, it was agreed that early elections will be held on June 20.

During their meeting, Pashinyan and Tsarukyan agreed that the snap elections were “the best way out of the current internal political situation,” the prime minister wrote.

“Taking into account my discussions with President [Armen Sarkisian], the My Step faction, the leader of the Bright Armenia faction Edmon Marukyan, early parliamentary elections will be held in the Republic of Armenia on June 20,” he added.

Marukyan said that he had a telephone conversation with Pashinyan and that holding early elections on June 20 was acceptable to his party.

A coalition of opposition parties has been holding anti-government demonstrations in Yerevan and other parts of the country in an unsuccessful effort to force Pashinyan to hand over power to an interim government.

Pashinyan, whose My Step faction dominates parliament, has refused to step down but had hinted at accepting early parliamentary elections under certain conditions.

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