Armenia elects protest leader as prime minister

09 May, 2018, 00:32 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Velvet Revolution

President Sarkissian congratulated Mr. Pashinyan on becoming the country's new prime minister. However, he was expected to be elected in a second vote on May 8, after the ruling Republican Party said it would back any candidate nominated by one-third of parliamentarians. That result sent Pashinyan's supporters out onto the streets again and Republicans quickly capitulated, announcing that they would not block Pashinyan's election in the next vote. He said his first priority was to organize the first fair parliamentary elections in many years. Sargsyan resigned six days later and Karapetyan became acting prime minister.

Civil Contract and two other opposition parties, Bright Armenia and Republic, set up an alliance called Yelk (Way Out) ahead of Armenia's last parliamentary elections held in April 2017. "There will be no privileged people in Armenia, period!"

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"Military cooperation with Russian Federation is an important factor in ensuring our country's security", Pashinyan said, referring to a two-decade long conflict his country is locked in with neighbouring Azerbaijan.

Sporting a salt and pepper beard, a tan and a baseball cap, Armenia's rising political star channelled widespread desire for change into a broad protest movement. "That's it. Full stop", the newly elected prime minister said, reaffirming support for human rights protections and an end to corruption.

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The father-of-four has earned a reputation as a man of the people, wearing his trademark camouflage T-shirt during protests and carrying a massive rucksack which he says contains "everything I need" - including a chocolate bar and a laptop. That transfer appeared to make sure Pashinian can be chosen Tuesday. The prime minister is now the head of government, and controls the army, police, National Security Service and the Security Council.

"This is a real test case for Russia's politics in the former Soviet Republics", said Chatham House's Broers. He first ran for the parliament in 2007 as the top candidate of an opposition group that challenged then President Robert Kocharian.

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Pending fresh elections "Pashinyan must manoeuvre between the will of the people and the parliamentary ruling party that he does not belong to and which can not begin supporting him", he said.

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