Armenian Prime Minister Resigns Amid Economic Troubles, Unrest

Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian has announced his widely anticipated resignation, citing his government’s failure to address the many economic and political challenges facing the country.

Chairing his last cabinet meeting on September 8, Abrahamian denounced the lingering “polarization of the society” and said Armenia needs “a new beginning.”

The move comes just weeks after President Serzh Sarksian proposed a government of national accord.

Abrahamian was appointed prime minister two years ago, but the tiny South Caucasus country’s economy slowed sharply last year. That increased its dependency on aid amid investment from Russia, including remittances from Armenians working in Russia, which are a badly needed source of income.

The government has also faced a flare-up of violence in Azerbaijan’s breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region and the seizure in July of a Yerevan police station by armed men demanding the release of a jailed opposition politician.

Abrahamian is widely expected to be replaced by Karen Karapetian, a technocrat former head of the national gas distributing company and former mayor of the capital city.

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