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YEREVAN, Armenia | Armenian parliament votes against protest leader as new PM

02 May 2018

Protests have been ongoing across Armenia since mid-April, when long-time president, Serzh Sargsyan, was nominated for the role of prime minister, which became the top position in the country after a constitutional reform.

On Monday, thousands of Armenians marched through the capital, demanding that Mr Pashinyan be appointed prime minister.

The Armenian constitution dictates that parliament must reconvene next week for another vote.

Nikol Pashinyan, candidate for the Prime Minister of Armenia, assures that he will "never try to say" that the changes in the Electoral Code for holding snap parliamentary elections must be made by his desired option, reports Armenpress.

"Your attempts to interpret the tolerance of the popular movement as weakness could cause unexpected and undesirable consequences", Pashinyan said, addressing members of the ruling Republican Party.

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"I call on everyone to take to the streets because once again they want to steal the people's victory", he added.

"Otherwise we will lose a very important thing: it would be impossible to have elections the results of which will be indisputable for both the political forces and the public", Nikol Pashinyan said.

Moscow-allied Armenia has been in the clutches of a severe political crisis for the past few weeks, with Sarkisian stepping down last week after a decade in power in the face of major protests in the impoverished South Caucasus nation. However, only 45 parliament members voted in his favor, while he needed to receive at least 53 votes to become prime minister.

The Republican Party has not nominated its candidate.

On Sunday, the Republican Party declared that it would not try to prevent "the people's candidate", referring to Pashinyan, from being elected, and would not boycott the appointment.

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Though Pashinyan is loath to say it, observers see Moscow's hand in Tuesday's vote.

Over the past few days Pashinyan has secured the backing of two major parties including Prosperous Armenia, giving him a total of 47 votes.

Republican deputies accused Pashinian of exploiting the young people who have been his core supporters.

Student Laura Shahverdyan, 22, said the country was united in its demand that the Republican Party's rule must end.

"I was hoping to hear a conceptual speech of a candidate for the prime minister, but instead I was witness to a non-program speech which sounds pleasant to people's ears", senior Republican party member Eduard Sharmazanov told the chamber.

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YEREVAN, Armenia | Armenian parliament votes against protest leader as new PM