Armenian opposition leader's bid for PM faces parliament vote

Celebrations at Yerevan’s Republic Square following Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian on April 23

Ararat Mirzoyan, a member of the Armenian Way Out Alliance (Yelq) parliamentary group, has nominated Nikol Pashinyan, an opposition figure who has been leading protests in the country, as a candidate for prime minister during the special session of the country's parliament.

The only candidate for the post of prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan said on Tuesday, May 1 that it is unusual to talk about mutual concessions on the Nagorno Karabakh issue when Azerbaijan is trying to destroy the Armenian statehood.

Edition Of The News.am reported that Prime Minister nominated only one candidate Nikol Pashinian.

Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan applauds at a rally after his bid to be interim prime minister was blocked by the parliament in Yerevan, Armenia May 1, 2018.

The party did not put forward Karen Karapetyan, the acting prime minister and a Sargsyan ally, as a candidate.

Speaker of the Armenian Parliament Ara Babloyan said that this is an unprecedented phenomenon.

Sargsyan led Armenia as president for 10 years until term limits forced him to step down and was made prime minister in mid-April.

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In the run-up to the vote, the Republic Party said it would not hinder the election of Pashinian if the other factions in parliament support his candidacy.

As of this moment, all the streets leading to Yerevan's Republic Square are closed to vehicular traffic due to the thousands of people making their way to the center of town.

"After my brother [late PM Vazgen Sargsyan], no prime minister has ever given such clear-cut and measured replies as you did", he stressed.

Tens of thousands of people had spent all day in the square outside Parliament waiting for the vote.

Reacting to the announcement, Pashinyan said: "With its discussions, the Republican Party has finally and irreversibly destroyed itself".

The ruling Republican Party of Armenia has said they will make a final decision after listening to Pashinyan's speech.

Pashinyan's protest movement had accused ex-leader Sarkisian of a power grab, saying he had failed to tackle a litany of problems like corruption, poverty and the influence of oligarchs.

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