Armenia's parliament sets date for prime minister vote

by Antonio Miles April 27, 2018, 0:50
Armenia's parliament sets date for prime minister vote

The country's parliament is expected to hold a special session on May 1 to debate and possibly elect a new leader, a statement published on the parliament's website on Thursday said.

During a press conference later that day, Karapetyan questioned the idea of a "people's prime minister elected on the street" and argued that early elections must be held to legitimise Pashinyan's potential premiership. They want a sweeping political reconfiguration before ending their protests, which continued on Thursday.

The protests were sparked by Sargsyan's move to extend his rule.

The shift to a strengthened parliamentary triggered massive anti-government protests in the capital of Yerevan on April 13, with thousands of people participating in rolling demonstrations against Sargsyan.

Although the demonstrations have been peaceful, the upheaval has threatened to destabilise Armenia, an ally of Russian Federation, in a volatile region riven by a decades-long, low-level conflict with neighbouring Azerbaijan.

Russian Federation has a military base in Armenia and President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday urged restraint when he spoke by phone to Armenian President Armen Sarkisian, who is no relation to Serzh Sarkisian, and is a ceremonial figurehead.

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"Some forces are trying to engage us into political bargaining and propose me to become prime minister but ensure and guarantee the continuation of the existing system", he told the Guardian.

Pashinyan demanded the "explicit and unconditional capitulation of the Republican Party to the people" and warned that if Karapetyan were made prime minister, protesters would blockade the parliament building and the prime minister's office in Yerevan.

An opposition bloc announced on April 25 that it would officially nominate Pashinian for the post. However, according to analysts, Sargsyan's resignation has unsettled Russian interests in Armenia.

From now on we turn a new page in the history of Armenia.

The ruling party has retained its majority in parliament - with 58 seats in the 105-seat parliament - but is facing pressure to hand power over to opposition lawmaker Nikol Pashinian following the protests that triggered Sargsyan's resignation. A candidate would need 53 votes to get elected.

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