Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinian formally nominated for premier by supporters | News | DW | 30.04.2018
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Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinian formally nominated for premier by supporters

After two weeks of protests, opposition leader Nikol Pashinian is the only candidate formally nominated for the post of prime minister. The key vote is to be held in parliament on Tuesday.

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Jubilant scenes as Armenia’s president resigns

Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinian was formally nominated by his supporters for the vacant post of prime minister on Monday. Though he needs support from several more lawmakers to be assured of winning the vote on Tuesday in parliament, no other candidate had been registered as the deadline passed on Monday evening. 

The formal nomination is the latest step in Pashinian's progress from leader of the protests that had forced unpopular Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan to resign to premier with a reform program. 

"I think this is a unique and great opportunity to resolve the domestic political crisis and to register the victory of the people, the kind of victory in which there are no losers," the former journalist said.

Read more: Nikol Pashinian: The man behind Armenia's protest movement

A new dawn

Pashinian held negotiations with all parties in parliament Monday, saying:

  • "We are facing the task of resolving the political crisis in the country." 
  •  "Our goal is to draw a line under animosity and create an atmosphere of solidarity."
  • "If a prime minister is not elected tomorrow, this crisis will not disappear."
  • "I don't have to and will not coax them," he said of the ruling Republican Party which holds a majority of seats in the assembly. 

The reactions

The Republicans said on Sunday they would not block Pashinian's election if all opposition groups in parliament supported him. Republican leader Vahram Baghdasaryan said his party would not "impede the election of the people's candidate" if all three opposition factions supported him.

Political analysts think it is likely that Pashinian will win Tuesday's vote: "I see practically no obstacles to Pashinian becoming a prime minister tomorrow," Hakob Badalyan told AFP. 

Political scientist Ervand Bozoyan said people now see political change is possible:  "Nikol has become a hero."

How did it come to this? Two weeks of protests brought the resignation of long-standing leader Sargsyan just days after parliament had approved his appointment as prime minister after spending a decade as president. The broad-based opposition supporting Pashinian holds Sargsyan responsible for the poor state of the economy and for widespread corruption. 

How likely is Pashinian to win? As the sole candidate, Pashinian has support from 47 opposition lawmakers, but needs six more votes to be elected in the 105-seat legislature. 

Protests began again in the capital, Yerevan, on Monday evening after Pashinian had spent the day meeting with other political leaders.
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