Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced on Sunday that he will resign next month while remaining in office until the parliamentary elections begin on June 20, as part of an effort to curb the political crisis gripping the Caucasus country.
Political unrest erupted in former Soviet Armenia after Pashinyan signed a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement with Azerbaijan in November, ending a six-week struggle for control of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Earlier this month, the prime minister announced swift parliamentary votes, saying he was “the best way out of the current internal political situation”.
During a visit to northwestern Armenia, Pashinyan told villagers that he would “resign in April” before the vote.
“I will resign not to resign, but for early elections to take place,” he said, according to a video posted on his Facebook page.
“I will continue to serve as caretaker Prime Minister,” he added.
Pashinyan has been under pressure to resign after agreeing to a ceasefire with Azerbaijan, which many in Armenia saw as a national humiliation.
According to the deal, Yerevan handed over parts of disputed territory to Azerbaijan and allowed Russian peacekeepers to distribute to regions they had controlled for three decades.
Both anti-government protesters and Pashinyan’s supporters have taken to the streets regularly in recent months.
Pashinyan said if voters support him and his team, they will “continue to serve you better than before.”
“If not, we will transfer power to the one you choose,” he added.
An ethnic Armenian region, Nagorno-Karabakh, broke away from Azerbaijan’s control during a war in the early 1990s.
New fighting broke out across the region in late September with Azerbaijani forces backed by Allied Turkey.
The conflict claimed about 6,000 lives from both sides.