Pashinian: 'No vendetta' if he becomes Armenian premier

Glen Norman
May 9, 2018

Armenian President Armen Sarkisyan has signed a decree formally appointing Nikol Pashinyan as prime minister of the country, according to the presidential press service.

Armenia's parliament has elected opposition lawmaker Nikol Pashinian as the country's new prime minister. "Before the early elections Pashinyan must manoeuvre between the will of the people and the parliamentary ruling party that he does not belong to and which can not begin supporting him", he said.

Minutes after parliament voted to make him prime minister, Pashinyan traveled to a square in the capital, Yerevan, where tens of thousands of cheering supporters, many wearing T-shirts bearing his portrait, waited to greet him.

Pashinian has threatened to stage another general strike if the HHK fails to vote for his candidacy on May 8. On the same day, the Armenian parliament voted for Serzh Sargsyan as prime minister. It was also fueled by anger over alleged corruption within Republican Party elite ruling the country since the 1990s.

The protest movement was sparked when Sargsyan moved to the premier position early in April after he reached a term limit after 10 years as president.

The protests which brought the resignation of Serzh Sargsyan were the biggest in Armenia since the Declaration of Independence in 1991 and started as sudden movement, unxpected by both experts and the political opposition.

Acting Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan has announced that he will cease carrying out the functions of the office as of today.

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.

In Yerevan's Republic Square, Pashinyan's supporters watched the voting on huge television screens.

Pashinian went into hiding following the deadly suppression on March 1-2, 2008 of post-election protests in Yerevan. "Corruption will be eliminated from Armenia", he said. He surrendered to law-enforcement authorities in July 2009 and was subsequently tried and sentenced to seven years in prison on charges stemming from the unrest. "The victory is that you chose who would be prime minister". He returned to Yerevan on foot on April 13 after walking more than 200 kilometers through the country's northern and central regions in an effort to drum up popular support for his cause.

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