Armenian opposition nominates candidate - Taipei Times
Tue, May 01, 2018 - Page 7 News List

Armenian opposition nominates candidate

AFP, YEREVAN

Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan, in white shirt, yesterday arrives for a meeting with fellow lawmakers at the parliament in Yerevan.

Photo: AFP

Armenian opposition leader and lawmaker Nikol Pashinyan was yesterday formally nominated for the post of prime minister by his supporters, inching closer to victory after two weeks of mass protests that transformed the country’s political landscape.

The leader of the protest movement that ousted former Armenian president-turned-prime minister Serzh Sargsyan last week, Pashinyan is the only candidate in the running for the post and insists that only he can rid Armenia of corruption, poverty and nepotism.

However, he still needs a handful of votes from the ruling Republican Party — which has a majority of seats in parliament — to seal his victory in a vote by lawmakers today.

The party headed by Sargsyan has yet to announce its official stance on the vote, even though a senior lawmaker, Vahram Baghdasaryan, has said it would not stand in the way of Pashinyan’s candidacy.

Pashinyan announced the nomination by his Elk coalition, speaking to journalists in parliament where he was engaged in “consultations with all political factions.”

“We are facing the task of resolving the political crisis in the country,” Pashinyan said.

Tens of thousands of opposition supporters on Sunday rallied in the capital, Yerevan, hoping that a massive show of strength would propel their leader to power in the crucial parliamentary vote.

“Looking into your eyes, I can say that yes, I am ready — with a great sense of responsibility — to assume the prime ministerial duties,” he told the ecstatic crowd on Sunday evening.

On Saturday, after days of frantic negotiations, two major parties including the Prosperous Armenia — which has 31 seats in parliament — said they would back Pashinyan.

The 42-year-old former newspaper editor is still six votes short of the 53 he needs from the 105-seat legislature.

Sargsyan last week resigned as prime minister, after serving as president for a decade, in the face of peaceful protests.

The protest movement had accused him of a power grab, saying he had failed to tackle a litany of problems like corruption, poverty and the influence of oligarchs.

Observers said that Sargsyan’s resignation sounded the death knell for the seemingly unshakable rule of the Republican Party, which dominated the ex-Soviet republic’s politics for more than a decade.

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