YEREVAN, March 22. /TASS/. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has presented the new Chief of General Staff, Artak Davtyan, to the top military brass of the country, underlining that the army should remain politically neutral, the Armenian government press service reported.
"I should ask, and we should agree that we should maintain the sacred principle of depoliticizing of the armed forces, the principle of political indifference in the future. The principle is not needed by me or a specific person or a group, it is an important principle that is primarily needed by the armed forces," he said. Pashinyan noted that the General Staff statement issued on February 25 with a demand for his resignation "is understandable on many parameters."
On Monday, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that Davtyan had assumed the office of Chief of General Staff because the president who refused to sign the appointment decree also did not challenge the decision in the Constitutional Court.
A political crisis broke out in Armenia after the head of the General Staff Onik Gasparyan and other top military brass had demanded the resignation of the prime minister and the government on February 25. Pashinyan slammed the demand as a coup attempt and announced his decision to dismiss Gasparyan.
On March 10, the prime minister said that Gasparyan had been relieved from his post after the decree to sack him was not signed by the president in time and was not challenged by him in the Constitutional Court either. Pashinyan then nominated Davtyan to succeed the top military brass. Gasparyan himself slammed the decree as unconstitutional and decided to appeal it in an administrative court.
In turn, Armenian President Armen Sarkissian submitted the law on military service and the status of a service member, which determines the procedure for appointment and resignation of a chief of the General Staff, to the court for review and did not sign the decree on Davtyan’s appointment. Davtyan already headed the General Staff between 2018 and 2020 and was removed by Pashinyan. Gasparyan then succeeded him at the prime minister’s initiative.