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Armenian president calls on people not to imperil national security

April 22, 18:06 UTC+3 YEREVAN

Earlier, the Armenian prosecutor general’s office confirmed the arrest of opposition lawmakers Nikol Pashinyan, Ararat Mirzoyan and Sasun Mikaelian on charges of holding unauthorized rallies

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YEREVAN, April 22. /TASS/. Amid ongoing protests Armenian President Armen Sarkissian has called on the protesters not to imperil national security, the presidential press service said on Sunday.

"Domestic political processes in the country can entail irrecoverable losses. Despite the agreements reached earlier, the talks have been suspended. It is necessary to abandon destructive behavior and continue efforts to find possibilities for dialogue. I call not to put at risk Armenia’s and Nagorno-Karabakh’s security," the president said in a statement.

Armenia’s Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan and opposition leader MP Nikol Pashinyan met at Yerevan’s Marriott hotel on Sunday morning. The opposition leader demanded Sargsyan step down while the latter said it was inadmissible to try to intimidate the legitimate authorities. The talks stopped after that.

Earlier in the day, the Armenian prosecutor general’s office confirmed the arrest of opposition lawmakers Nikol Pashinyan, Ararat Mirzoyan and Sasun Mikaelian on charges of holding unauthorized rallies.

The situation in Yerevan remains very tense. Mass rallies began in Yerevan and other cities of Armenia on Monday protesting against the nomination of former president Serzh Sargsyan’s candidacy for prime minister. On Tuesday, Sargsyan was elected prime minister.

Now, Armenia is switching over to a parliamentary system of government. Prior to the constitutional reform that followed the 2015 referendum, Armenian presidents were elected by direct and universal suffrage. When all constitutional amendments finally come into force, Armenia will complete its transition to a parliamentary form of government, with the prime minister exercising executive authority and the president performing mainly representative functions and being in charge of control over compliance with the constitution.

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