YEREVAN (Sputnik) – The Armenian parliament on Wednesday lifted the martial law declared on 27 September amid an escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh. Some 118 lawmakers supported the initiative by opposition factions, with one vote against it and one abstention.
Under Armenian legislation, the snap parliamentary elections scheduled for 20 June would not be possible if martial law was not lifted. Earlier this week, parliament speaker Ararat Mirzoyan called on lawmakers to vote to lift martial law.
The announcement comes as the country has been hit by several rounds of mass demonstrations since early November, with protesters urging Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to step down. Tensions escalated in February after Pashinyan ordered the firing of several top military officials, including Army Chief of General Staff Onik Gasparyan and Deputy Chief Tigran Khachatryan.
The armed forces responded by issuing a statement demanding Pashinyan’s own resignation, with the PM considering the said move an attempted coup and calling on his supporters to take to the streets.
The politician has faced multiple calls to step down since signing a deal in November to end fighting between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh). Under the terms of the trilateral agreement, a number of districts previously controlled by the self-proclaimed republic came under Azerbaijani control.