YEREVAN, Armenia 

Armenian opposition parties nominated former Prime Minister Vazgen Manukyan as their candidate for interim prime minister Thursday, calling on current Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to immediately resign. 

Since the Armenian army’s defeat in Karabakh by the Azerbaijani armed forces in November, calls for the government to resign have continued, with 17 opposition parties issuing a joint statement against Pashinyan.

Pointing out that the government failed to deal with the rising political and socio-economic crisis in the country, the statement said the “formation of a new government is an urgent need.”

Manukyan made a commitment to lead the interim government and to take the country to early elections but not participate, according to the statement.

It was also stressed that Pashinyan endangers the country’s security every day while he is in office, so he must resign immediately.

Manukyan served as prime minister from 1990-1991 and defense minister from 1992-1993.

The Armenian people staged protests after Pashinyan accepted Armenia’s defeat by Azerbaijan.

Relations between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

When new clashes erupted on Sept. 27, the Armenian army launched attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces and violated several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.

During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from Armenian occupation.

On Nov. 10, the two countries signed a Russian-brokered agreement to end the fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution.

The truce is seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia, whose armed forces have been withdrawing in line with the agreement.

*Writing by Havva Kara Aydin

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