Armenia faced a fresh crisis on Wednesday as reformist Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan fired six ministers after lawmakers blocked his demand for snap parliamentary elections.
Those sacked include ministers in charge of energy, economic development, agriculture and transport.
Pashinyan came to power in the impoverished ex-Soviet country in May after leading mass anti-government protests, which ousted veteran leader Serzh Sarkisian.
But he has been at loggerheads with Sarkisian’s Republican Party, which still controls parliament and has stood in the way of his reforming drive.
Wednesday’s sackings came a day after MPs passed a bill making it harder to disband parliament and hold snap elections.
The passing of the bill triggered new street protests by Pashinyan’s supporters on Tuesday evening, with the prime minister saying he would resign within days.
Apart from the Republican Party, the changes were also backed by Prosperous Armenia and Dashnaktsutyun — two major parties that had supported Pashinyan during the protests earlier this year.
The 43-year-old premier has accused MPs of stabbing him in the back, saying the adoption of the bill was nothing short of a “counter-revolution”.
The sacked ministers are all representatives of Prosperous Armenia and Dashnaktsutyun.
They were fired by decrees from the office of the president, who is a ceremonial figurehead, on the initiative of Pashinyan.
Dashnaktsutyun had said earlier it was recalling its two ministers because of tensions and political division.