Putin congratulates Pashinyan on taking office as Armenia's PM

Armenia’s opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan
Artyom Geodakyan TASS
Author

09 May, 2018

Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan addresses supporters after being elected as Prime Minister in Yerevan's Republic Square on May 8, 2018.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Armenian protest leader on his election as the country's new prime minister.

The vote will be Pashinyan's second attempt to get elected as premier after the ruling Republican Party narrowly blocked his first bid on May 1, despite initially promising not to stand in the way. On the same day, the Armenian parliament voted for Serzh Sargsyan as prime minister.

Pashinyan, a former journalist and leader of the opposition Civil Contract party, put himself at the front of the protest movement as thousands of people took to the streets in Yerevan.

The Armenian parliament voted 59-42 Tuesday to elect Pashinian, who headed weeks of huge protests.

Under pressure from protesters on April 23, Sargsyan resigned, but protests in the country continued.

Pashinyan has promised to rid Armenia of corruption and poverty and is still the only candidate running for the PM's post. After this, new protests began in Yerevan and in a number of cities of the republic.

"The victory is not that I was elected prime minister", Pashinyan told the crowd.

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"We chose a new road in Armenia where the driver will be the people and not clans". He said his ministers will be chosen "as a result of discussions" with his allies and other political groups.

He has publicly fallen out with other opposition leaders such as the former president Levon Ter-Petrosyan.

A year later Pashinian was elected to the National Assembly on the ticket of Ter-Petrosian's Armenian National Congress (HAK).

He went into hiding but surrendered in 2009.

In an interview during the protests, Mr Pashinyan said dark political forces had been trying to derail Armenia's peaceful revolution. 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.

With his fiery rhetoric and penchant for asking awkward questions, Pashinyan quickly became a thorn in the side of the ruling party. "The victory is that you chose who would be prime minister".

Tankian credited the crowds that have taken to the streets repeatedly to support Pashinian since mid-April for achieving a major, peaceful change of government in the small Caucasus country.


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