Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Opposition has made strategic decision, protest leader Psshinyan says

Supporters of Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan drive a car during a rally in Yerevan Armenia on Wednesday Supporters of Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan drive a car during a rally in Yerevan Armenia on Wednesday
Glenn Montgomery | 27 April, 2018, 00:55

Armenia could have a new prime minister by next week, after almost two weeks of street protests forced Serzh Sargsyan to quit.

Russian Federation has a military base in Armenia and President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday urged restraint when he spoke by phone to Armenian President Armen Sarkisian, who is no relation to Serzh Sarkisian, and is a ceremonial figurehead.

Opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan, who led the demonstrations, is shaping up as the favourite to replace him.

Although the demonstrations have been peaceful, the upheaval has threatened to destabilize Armenia, an ally of Russian Federation, in a volatile region riven by its decades-long, low-level conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan.

The country's political crisis deepened Wednesday when Dashnaktsutyun, the junior partner of Sargsyan's ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), announced it was leaving the governing coalition and urged HHK to swear in a prime minister who "enjoys the people's confidence", Radio Free Europe reported.

The leader of the Armenian opposition movement Nikol Pashinyan said at a rally in Yerevan on Thursday that either he would be elected prime minister of Armenia, or the country would have no prime minister at all.

Pashinian has threatened extended protests, which continued Thursday, if the Republican Party nominates a candidate.

Acting PM Karapetian too has close ties with Russian Federation.

Two weeks of demonstrations looked to have peaked when Serzh Sarksyan quit as prime minister.

Protesters in the capital Yerevan took to the streets to celebrate Sargsyan's resignation.

During the conversation, it was stressed that the crisis situation in Armenia must be settled within the current constitution.

The Kremlin, which has a military base in Armenia, is watching with concern.

Armenia's parliament will vote for a new premier on May 1. A candidate would need 53 votes to get elected.

An opposition leader from Yelk bloc and the founder and head of Civil Contract party, Pashinyan leads the campaign against the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA).

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