Armenian PM seeks to bolster authority in early parliamentary election | News | DW | 09.12.2018
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Armenian PM seeks to bolster authority in early parliamentary election

Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian wants to weaken his predecessor's party in the parliament and cement his leadership. He took over as prime minister in May after weeks of leading anti-corruption protests.

Watch video 04:02

Armenia's new leader lays out vision for future

Armenians are voting in an early parliamentary election on Sunday after acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian dissolved parliament in October to shore up his authority.

Pashinian, a former journalist, is hoping the My Step Alliance, which includes his Civil Contract Party, will achieve a parliamentary majority ahead of the former ruling Republican Party. Polls show that the alliance is on course to easily win a majority.

The star of the country's protest movement on Sunday praised the vote as "really free, transparent and democratic," reported state media.

"Our main goal was to achieve democracy, which we succeeded in," Pashinian told reporters, according to the Armenpress state news agency.  

Pashinian's ascent

Lawmakers elected Pashinian to the prime minister's office in May after he spearheaded weeks of protests against former Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan.

Pashinian and his followers accused Sargsyan of trying to cling to power by becoming prime minister after serving two terms as president. A 2015 constitutional amendment had shifted powers from the presidency to the prime minister's office.

Since entering office, Pashinian has targeted senior Sargsyan associates while the former prime minister has kept a low profile.

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

Pashinian's agenda

Pashinian, 43, vows to maintain Armenia's close military and economic ties to Russia. The former Soviet republic hosts a Russian military base and is highly dependent on Russian loans and trade.

Watch video 00:54

Jubilant scenes as Armenia’s president resigns

He also pledges to continue the previous government's support for ethnic Armenian forces that control Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region of neighboring Azerbaijan.

That pledge is likely to maintain Armenia's isolation. Azerbaijan and neighboring Turkey closed their borders and cut trade ties to Armenia in response to its supportive policy.

amp/jm (Reuters, AP)

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