Armenia opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan elected Prime Minister by parliament

by Antonio Miles May 9, 2018, 0:51
Armenia opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan elected Prime Minister by parliament

Leader of the protest movement, head of the oppositional parliamentary faction of the Elk bloc, Nikol Pashinyan was elected prime minister of Armenia.

The Armenian opposition leader who is almost certain to become the country's prime minister says he will not seek political revenge in the wake of the past month of tensions. That vote follows a concession in which the majority party said it would put forth a candidate itself, but would vote for whichever figure was nominated by a third of the deputies.

After failing to get enough votes from the National Assembly, Pashinyan called on supporters to block streets, airports, the railway and other public transportation. On the same day, the Armenian parliament voted for Serzh Sargsyan as prime minister.

The Republican Party, which has a majority of parliament seats, later underlined the difficulty by declaring it's now in opposition.

In the wake of the vote, people took to the streets of Armenia's capital Erevan to hold a rally.

Before his resignation, Sargsyan was appointed prime minister last month after serving 10 years as the country's president.

Russian Federation has strong strategic interests in Armenia, including a military base, and had been watching the country's political turmoil closely. "Jobs will appear, people will return, corruption will disappear", said demonstrator Tigran Azizian, a 42-year-old worker in the city's subway.

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Acting Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan has announced that he will cease carrying out the functions of the office as of today.

After blocking his bid on May 1, Republican Party provided the Pashinian with the support needed to become premier. "Corruption will be eliminated from Armenia", he said.

The hugely popular Pashinyan has in recent weeks piled pressure on the ruling party through an unprecedented campaign of civil disobedience that plunged the Moscow-allied nation into its most serious political crisis in years.

However, the HHK-dominated parliament quickly appointed him as prime minister, a switch made possible by constitutional changes that weakened the presidency while bolstering the prime minister's powers. The thousands of protests in the country began on April 13.

Pashinyan's protest movement had accused Sarkisian of a blatant power grab.

Council of Europe observers said the referendum was marred by allegations of large-scale vote-buying, multiple voting and other irregularities.


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