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Armenian PM says army chief considered dismissed

Onik Gasparyan is considered dismissed because Armenian President did neither sign his dismissal order nor did he apply to the constitutional court within the deadline prescribed by law, the PM office said in a statement

Xinhua , Thursday 11 Mar 2021
Nikol Pashinyan
File Photo: Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan (AP)
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Chief of the General Staff of the Armenian army Onik Gasparyan was considered as removed from office, the Armenian Prime Minister's Office said late on Wednesday.

Gasparyan is considered dismissed because Armenian President Armen Sarkissian did neither sign his dismissal order nor did he apply to the constitutional court within the deadline prescribed by law, the office said in a statement on the official website.

Shortly after this, Gasparyan said in a statement that his dismissal is unconstitutional, and that he is filing a lawsuit to the administrative court, according to the local Armenpress.

Meanwhile, Sarkissian posted a statement on the official website, saying he has applied to the constitutional court to determine whether the Law on Military Service and Status of Servicemen is constitutional or not.

According to Armenian law, the Armenian president has three days to either approve a motion from the prime minister or return it with objections. But if the motion is sent to the president again, he has to choose to sign it or apply to the constitutional court within a certain number of days.

The statements came amid rising tension between Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and the Armenian army's general staff and opposition parties on the resignation of the government.

Pashinyan submitted a second request to Sarkissian on Feb. 27 to seek the dismissal of Gasparyan shortly after the president refused to sign the request and said the motion to fire the military chief is unconstitutional.

On Feb. 25, Pashinyan dismissed Gasparyan and sent the motion to the president, accusing him of attempting a military coup.

Earlier that day, Gasparyan, his deputies and dozens of top military commanders had signed a statement, demanding Pashinyan and his cabinet resign. 

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