Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Armenia's president appoints Pashinyan as prime minister

Armenia & Karabakh Velvet Revolution        Velvet Revolution Update Armenia & Karabakh Velvet Revolution Velvet Revolution Update
Lisa Bryan | 09 May, 2018, 00:49

Armenia's Parliament on Tuesday elected opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan to become the country's next prime minister.

The HHK's parliamentary leader, Vahram Baghdasarian, made clear just before the vote that his party still has serious doubts about Pashinian's ability to govern Armenia but will nonetheless help him become prime minister in order to restore "political stability" in the country. His candidacy was supported by 59 parliamentarians, and 42 others were against it.

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. Pashinyan had lost the original vote on May 1 due to initial opposition from the dominant Republican Party.

Yet faced with weeks of mass protests, Sargsyan left the premiership on April 23, six days after his election.

Although Armenian leaders traditionally visit the region on May 9, the date on which many ex-Soviet countries mark the defeat of Nazi Germany, Pashinian's trip is likely to provoke resentment from Azerbaijan.

"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.


A year later Pashinian was elected to the National Assembly on the ticket of Ter-Petrosian's Armenian National Congress (HAK). "This process should continue, in line with the wishes of the Armenian people", Jagland said. However, Armenia has changed its government structure, giving the prime minister more power than the presidency.

The hugely popular Pashinyan has in recent weeks piled pressure on the ruling party through an unprecedented campaign of civil disobedience that plunged the Moscow-allied nation into its most serious political crisis in years.

He went into hiding but surrendered in 2009.

"On the other hand, as the protest movement has shown, he can be flexible", he said. He was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2010 but was released the following year under an amnesty.

Pashinyan said the protest movement empowered ordinary Armenians, showing them they could determine the future of their country. The thousands of protests in the country began on April 13.

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