The move, likely to deepen the country's biggest political crisis in a decade, follows days of street protests against Serzh Sarksyan, the newly-appointed prime minister whom protesters accuse of clinging to power.
Ultimately, the protestors succeeded in overthrowing the PM Sargsyan's brief tenure.
Some hugged policemen in the street amid repeated cries of "Hurrah!", others beeped vehicle horns, and some residents of Yerevan were even seen dancing outside. Sargsyan abruptly ended the meeting hen Pashinian refused to discuss anything besides the prime minister's resignation.
The unexpected announcement came after a group of soldiers joined demonstrations, which had spread beyond the capital Yerevan following mass arrests on Sunday. "I was wrong." After serving for a decade as president, Sarkisian was last week elected prime minister by lawmakers in a move the opposition said was created to extend his rule under a new parliamentary system of government. "I'm leaving the post of leader of the country", he said according to his press service, quoted by the official Armenian news agency Armenpress.
In a resignation statement, Sargsyan said, "Nikol Pashinyan was right". Maintaining power through election fraud, or, like in 2008, by armed violence against the opposition, could become complicated.
When Sargsyan switched to the prime minister's job, ally Armen Sarkisian, a former prime minister and ambassador to Britain, was elected president in Sargsyan's place.
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Yerevan residents took to the streets to celebrate Sargsyan's departure. "But it's important to remember that the government in Armenia remains the same, and the new acting prime minister is an old ally of Mr Sargsyan".
-April 13: Thousands of demonstrators crowd France Square in the capital of Yerevan to protest the change of government, vowing to remain around the clock.
Moscow, which has decried past anti-government rallies as Western interference, has been cautious in commenting on the present unrest.
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More than 300 people were arrested in Yerevan on Sunday. A Sargsyan ally, Karapetian also served as mayor of Yerevan and worked in Russian Federation for five years as a senior executive of state-controlled gas giant Gazprom.
Asked about the crisis on Monday before Sarksyan's resignation, the Kremlin called Armenia an "extraordinarily important country" for Russian Federation, but dismissed the idea it might intervene, calling the crisis a domestic matter. For several months, Sargsyan was continuously glorified on television and in RPA officials' statements (Araratnews.am, November 3, 2017; Lragir.am, December 8, 2017; Tert.am, February 28).