Armenia Celebrates as Protest Leader Pashinyan Elected as Prime Minister

Wednesday, 09 May, 2018

Opponents from the ruling Republican Party have accused Pashinyan - who says he wants good relations with both Russian Federation and the West - of being unpredictable and lacking a clear programme and ideology.

Nikol Pashinian, who led weeks of protests that attracted tens of thousands of people and forced Serzh Sargsyan to resign as premier, is expected to be chosen as prime minister by parliament Tuesday. "The page of hatred should be turned", he said, adding: "May God help us". "And this place is not in power, but in the opposition".

"I hope that your performance as the head of government will contribute to efforts to further strengthen friendly, allied relations between our countries, partnership within the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization", Putin stressed in his message of congratulations. Within 20 days after forming the cabinet, the prime minister is to submit the government's action plan to the parliament for approval. Shooting frequently breaks out across a demilitarized zone that separates the forces and Azerbaijan's soldiers, and a four-day war in 2016 killed scores on both sides.

During a debate in Parliament, Pashinyan said that he is ready to carry on with Baku talks on Karabakh.

"I am 95 percent sure that your candidate will be elected as prime minister tomorrow", Pashinan told the cheering crowd. However, the HHK said it will not block the election and will support it. "This process should continue, in line with the wishes of the Armenian people", Jagland said.

Supporters say Mr Pashinyan, who was also imprisoned after opposition rallies in 2008 turned deadly, is among history's great peaceful revolutionaries. He said his first priority was to organize the first fair parliamentary elections in many years.

Today, Pashinyan was elected Armenia's prime minister with 59 MPs voting "for" and 42 "against" during a special session of the National Assembly.

Pashinian spearheaded weeks of largely peaceable protests that gripped the nation in political turmoil. Pashinyan had lost the original vote on May 1 due to initial opposition from the dominant Republican Party.

"People are waiting for a miracle, but the risk of disappointment is very great - the lack of a program and of a team make Pashinian very vulnerable", analyst Vigen Akopian said. Sargsyan resigned six days later and Karapetyan became acting prime minister.