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The Newest: Armenia parliament picks opposition chief as PM

09 May 2018, 12:32 | Marta Robbins

Armenia’s ‘Revolutionary Granny Leila “We’re Headed for a Better Day”

Armenia’s ‘Revolutionary Granny Leila “We’re Headed for a Better Day”

The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), which had thwarted Pashinyan's first bid for the prime minister hinted their support for his candidacy on Tuesday by saying "the country will have a new prime minister on May 8".

After failing to get enough votes in parliament's May 1 vote, Pashinian was nominated again on May 3 by his Yelk faction and allied opposition parties, and remains the only official candidate for prime minister. "In Armenia, the page of political and economic persecution has been closed".

The father-of-four has earned a reputation as a man of the people, wearing his trademark camouflage T-shirt during protests and carrying a massive rucksack which he says contains "everything I need" - including a chocolate bar and a laptop.

The previous prime minister, Serzh Sargsyan, resigned last month after just six days in office.

While the Kremlin tends to view democratic uprisings with suspicion, Pashinyan has focused his recent criticism on domestic issues.

Within an hour of the vote, Pashinyan traveled to Republic Square in central Yerevan to greet his supporters, who waved Armenian flags and balloons as a rock band performed live music.

Pashinyan secured a relevant number of votes necessary for getting the job after 59 Armenian lawmakers voted to grant him the PM's powers. Bagdasaryan said today that they were voting for Pashinyan in spite of the fact that they were not reassured. After this, new protests began in Yerevan and in a number of cities of the republic.

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Ahead of the vote, Pashinian told the legislature he would fight corruption.

Pashinyan's protest movement had accused Sarkisian of a blatant power grab.

He went into hiding but surrendered in 2009. 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.

Analyst Vigen Hakobyan called Pashinyan a "classic revolutionary" who is ready to act decisively without hesitation. He said his ministers will be chosen "as a result of discussions" with his allies and other political groups.

"I am very happy because this is a movement for the people, Armenians have come together and learned to love one another", said Anna Maritosyan, a social worker who was among the celebrants.

Pashinyan was born in 1975 in the small resort town of Ijevan in northern Armenia during the Soviet era. "However, if it turns out that they are ineffective, they will be discontinued", he said.



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