Amid a political crisis that has pitted Nikol Pashinyan against the army, the prime minister has announced a snap parliamentary election for June 20.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is pictured during an interview with Reuters in Yerevan, Armenia on October 13, 2020.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is pictured during an interview with Reuters in Yerevan, Armenia on October 13, 2020. (Reuters)

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has announced a snap parliamentary election to be held on June 20, in an effort to defuse a political crisis sparked by last year's war with Azerbaijan.

"Snap parliamentary elections will be held on June 20 this year," Pashinyan wrote on Facebook on Thursday, saying the decision was taken following talks with the opposition and the president.

"Snap parliamentary elections are the best way out of the current internal political situation," he added.

Pashinyan has faced calls to resign since last November when he agreed to a Russian-brokered ceasefire that halted six weeks of fighting between ethnic Armenian and Azeri forces over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

READ MORE: Armenia PM says ready for early elections

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

The army told Pashinyan to quit on February 25, prompting the prime minister to sack the chief of the army's general staff

But Armenia's president declined to approve Pashinyan's move and the general's lawyer said on Thursday he remained in his post.

The standoff is a major challenge for Pashinyan, who was swept to power by protests in 2018 but has been under fire over his handling of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The November deal secured significant territorial gains for Azerbaijan in and around Nagorno-Karabakh. The enclave is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but is populated and until recently was fully controlled by ethnic Armenians.

Pashinyan said he had been compelled to agree to the peace deal to prevent greater human and territorial losses. 

READ MORE: Armenia accepts defeat in fight over occupied Azerbaijan territories

Source: TRTWorld and agencies