nsucurrent.com May 24, 2018

Armenia crisis: Opposition leader Pashinyan faces PM vote

02 May 2018, 01:47 | Colleen Roy

Armenia crisis: Opposition leader Pashinyan faces PM vote

Armenian protest leader Nikol Pashinyan

Protest leader Nikol Pashinyan, the sole candidate in Armenia's election for prime minister, called for fresh protests after failing to secure enough votes from parliament on Tuesday to win the post.

In the vote taken today at the National Assembly's special session, 45 votes were cast in favor of Pashinyan, while 55 votes were cast against.

Protests led by Pashinyan began in Armenia on April 13 when the opposition argued against the election of former President Serzh Sargsyan as Prime Minister, accusing him of poor governance and deterioration of economic situation in the country.

Speaking in an interview with AFP on Monday, Pashinyan said, "It was clear that Armenia is in the grip of a deep political crisis".

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.

The protest leader asked people to meet at Republic Square in the capital, Yerevan, to celebrate what he called "the public victory over hopelessness, emigration and uncertainty".

"I would like to warn you that your attempts to interpret the tolerance of the popular movement as weakness could cause unexpected and undesirable consequences", Pashinyan said, addressing members of the ruling Republican Party from the rostrum.

Over the weekend he had secured the backing of two major parties including Prosperous Armenia and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, giving him a total of 47 votes.

Tens of thousands of Pashinyan's supporters had rallied during the day as parliament members debated.

He described his setback as an "insult to the people" and said he was calling a campaign of civil disobedience from early Wednesday that would include blockades of key transport routes.

Protests in support of Pashinyan have been held all across Armenia and Armenian Diaspora communities scattered around the world, including a protest on Sunday in front of the Armenian embassy in Canada.

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