Armenian parliament set to vote on new premier

April FrancisMay 02, 2018

The vote at a special session of parliament on May 1 came shortly after Vahram Baghdasarian, head of the Republican Party of Armenia's (HHK) parliamentary faction, announced that his party would vote against Pashinian.

Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan was the only candidate, but the parliament did not elect the protest leader to be the country's prime minister.

Former prime minister Serzh Sargsyan was forced to resign on April 23, and Pashinyan is now seeking the appointment as prime minister by the National Assembly of what he calls "the people's candidate", - i.e. himself - the formation of an interim government and snap parliamentary elections. As the ruling party of Armenia refused to nominate a candidate for the post of Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan was the only candidate nominated for the post of Prime Minister.

Speaker of the Armenian Parliament Ara Babloyan said that this is an unprecedented phenomenon.

Pashinyan failed Tuesday to persuade individual lawmakers to cross party lines so he could amass the 53-vote majority he needed in the 105-seat legislature.

Vadz Ghazaryan, an IT professional who immigrated to Canada from Armenia in 2014, said the protests have transformed the political landscape in his homeland, giving people hope that the corrupt political system led by the Republican Party can finally be reformed.

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"After my brother [late PM Vazgen Sargsyan], no prime minister has ever given such clear-cut and measured replies as you did", he stressed.

As of this moment, all the streets leading to Yerevan's Republic Square are closed to vehicular traffic due to the thousands of people making their way to the center of town.

Mr Pashinyan, 42, has said he wants to call snap elections. Some voters accuse Sarksyan and his associates of cronyism and corruption, an allegation they deny.

"They spat on us, but we're not going to tolerate this", bakery owner Samvel Rustamyan, 46, said while jeering and punching his fists in the air.

Protests in support of Pashinyan have been held all across Armenia and Armenian Diaspora communities scattered around the world, including a protest on Sunday in front of the Armenian embassy in Canada.

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