Armenia ruling party blocks protest leader's bid to be prime minister

02 May, 2018, 01:30 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Parliament vote falls short for Armenia's protest leader

The national Assembly of Armenia did not support the candidate Nikol Pashinian for the post of Prime Minister.

April 26 opposition parliamentary faction elk was nominated for the post of Prime Minister the candidacy of its Chairman Nikol Pashinyan.

The 42-year-old Pashinian was the only candidate in the May 1 vote.

Armenia's ruling Republican Party had earlier said it would not put up a candidate, in a bid to ease tensions. The Republican Party, which has 58 out of 105 seats in the parliament, has not announced its plans on the upcoming voting.

Mr Sargsyan, who had served 10 years as president, stepped down on 23 April just days after being sworn in as PM.

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There have been mixed signs that Armenia's parliament, which is mostly made up of Sarksyan's supporters, could elect Pashinyan in a vote set for later Tuesday. He called on his supporters to rally on Tuesday as parliament meets for the vote and then gather at Republic Square in downtown Yerevan to celebrate "celebrate their victory, their irreversible victory".

Between 30,000 and 40,000 opposition supporters spent the day peacefully rallying outside the parliament building to support Pashinyan. The Republican Party has dominated Armenian politics since 1999.

Mr. Pashinyan has said that the main task of any interim government is organizing the next parliamentary elections.

If parliament on May 8 fails again to confirm a prime minister, the legislature would automatically be dissolved and early general elections would be scheduled with the Republican-led acting government in charge of the electoral process.

Speaking to lawmakers ahead of the vote, Pashinian said that "the Republican Party's attempts at thwarting this ballot will start a political tsunami".

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"Otherwise we will lose a very important thing: it would be impossible to have elections the results of which will be indisputable for both the political forces and the public", Nikol Pashinyan said.

The Republican Party had reportedly given assurances that it would not block Mr Pashinyan's bid for the PM's office.

Demonstrators had poured onto the streets of Yerevan in protest at the move, accusing him of trying to cling to power.

Pashinyan has pledged to keep Armenia close to Moscow, saying the changes he wants to make would instead focus on rooting out graft.

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