Pashinyan elected Armenia's prime minister

Arturo Kim
May 9, 2018

Armen Sarkissian signed a decree earlier on Tuesday to appoint Nikol Pashinyan as Armenia's Prime Minister.

Expressing his gratitude to the MPs for voting and their position, the RA newly elected Prime Minister has noted that he serves the Republic of Armenia and its people.

The protests focused on former President Serzh Sargsyan, who tried to hold onto power by switching from president to prime minister, a move that opponents saw as allowing him to remain the country's leader indefinitely.

Tens of thousands of supporters of Nikol Pashinian are celebrating on the central square of Armenia's capital after the protest leader was elected the country's prime minister. A general strike across Armenia took place the following day, and eventually Republican MPs agreed they would back him in an 8 May vote. Attempting to drum up support in villages, Pashinyan camped in tents along the way, attracting followers and growing a salt-and-pepper beard that he still sports.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Serj Tankian (left) told demonstrators they had turned "anger and despair into a positive movement" How did we get here?

Under a 2015 referendum marred by irregularities, Armenia shifted powers from the presidency to parliament. It remains to be seen whether the HHK, which continues to control the majority of seats in the parliament, will agree to them. After this, new protests began in Yerevan and in a number of cities of the republic.

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Before the vote, the leader of the Republican Party, Vahram Baghdasaryan said that the Republican Party wanted to "stabilise the political situation in the country", but was still opposed to Pashinyan. He subsequently fell out with the ex-president and set up his own party, Civil Contract.

The Armenian parliament voted 59-42 Tuesday to elect Pashinian, who headed weeks of huge protests.

Many of those who had been skeptical became supporters.

"I expect that your work as the head of government will contribute to further strengthening the friendly, allied relations between our countries, our partnership as part of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization", Putin said in a congratulatory message to Pashinyan cited by the Kremlin.

At the tense, eight-hour session the week before, Republicans peppered Pashinyan with questions about his commitment to Armenia's ties with Russian Federation, the country's traditional family values, and economic growth.

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