Pashinyan elected Armenia's prime minister

09 May, 2018, 00:33 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Armenia’s opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan

The leader of protests that gripped Armenia for weeks was named the country's new prime minister on Tuesday, overcoming the immediate political turmoil but raising uncertainty about the longer term. Nearly all MPs from the Republican Party of Armenia voted against appointing the leader of the Velvet Revolution as the head of the government.

Exactly a month ago, Nikol Pashinyan was walking from village to village across Armenia in a desperate protest against a power grab by the country's prime minister, Serzh Sargsyan.

The extraordinary sitting of the Armenian parliament kicked off 12:00 for the second round of vote to elect a Prime Minister.

OSCE observers noted that the previous parliamentary elections, in 2017, were "tainted by credible information about vote-buying, and pressure on civil servants and employees of private companies".

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Mr Pashinyan has spearheaded weeks of protests which have brought an end to 10 years of rule by Serzh Sargsyan. The prime minister is to receive all powers while President Armen Sargsyan who was elected by the parliament on March 2 is to perform representative functions. While the Republicans could block those, in theory, doing so would trigger snap elections in which they would certainly lose seats.

The 42-year-old former newspaper editor also secured the support of two other major political parties - Prosperous Armenia and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) - which nominated him for the post together with his opposition Elk coalition.

Supporters of Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan attend a rally in downtown Yerevan. "In Armenia, the page of political and economic persecution has been closed", he said. There will be no people enjoying privileges in Armenia.

As required by the Constitution, a new government must be formed within 15 days after electing a Prime Minister. "Corruption will be eradicated", Pashinyan said. "People want to protest now against the mayor of Yerevan", he said. That move appeared to ensure Pashinian would be chosen Tuesday.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Pashinian, who has promised he'll continue close relations with Moscow. "The victory is that you chose who would be prime minister".

Thousands took to the streets in protest, driving Sargsyan to step down 11 days later.

With his fiery rhetoric and penchant for asking awkward questions, Pashinyan quickly became a thorn in the side of the ruling party.

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