Published: Wed, May 09, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Armenia Parliament Voted Pashinyan as PM

Armenia Parliament Voted Pashinyan as PM

"There will be no corruption in Armenia".

The hugely popular Pashinyan had in recent weeks piled pressure on the ruling party through an unprecedented campaign of civil disobedience, leading to the shock resignation of veteran leader Serzh Sarkisian, a week after he shifted to the newly-empowered role of prime minister after serving for 10 years as president. Many Armenians saw that as a cynical ploy by Sarskyan to extend his hold on power. Pashinyan had lost the original vote on May 1 due to initial opposition from the dominant Republican Party.

Stung by the protests, Sargsyan stepped down. His candidacy was supported by 59 parliamentarians, and 42 others were against it.

Pashinyan was the only candidate for the premiership.

Moscow, which has a military base in Armenia, is wary of an uncontrolled change of power which would pull the country out of its orbit, but Pashinyan has offered assurances that he will not break with the Kremlin. So far, it has largely stayed on the sidelines.

When the result was announced, Pashinyan supporters who had gathered on Yerevan's central Republic Square to watch the session (livestreamed onto big screens) shouted "Nikol" and "Victory", and popped corks of champagne bottles, spraying the crowds. Others wore camouflage T-shirts or caps mimicking Pashinyan's signature style (though he himself was in a dark suit).

The opposition leader had cut a rebellious figure during the protests of the last few weeks.

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Tankian's appearance came the evening before a parliamentary vote that was expected to see Pashinyan elected as prime minister.

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

"The victory is not my being elected prime minister", he added.

Russian Federation has strong strategic interests in Armenia, including a military base, and had been watching the country's political turmoil closely.

Today, Acting Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan applied to President of the Republic of Armenia Armen Sarkissian with the request to terminate his duties as Acting First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.

According to Broers, what matters now is whether Pashinyan can turn his hand to coalition-building skills, "because people have got to get off the street and into institutions".

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