Republican Party blocks appointment of new Armenian prime minister

May 02, 2018, 01:27
Republican Party blocks appointment of new Armenian prime minister

After a nine hour session, the chamber voted 45-55 against appointing Nikol Pashinian, who was the only candidate nominated to replace the ex-president who resigned as prime minister due to the protests.

According to the lawmaker, the advantage of the emerging government is that it has a clear understanding on the day it will resign.

"It showed once again that they don't care about us, about the ordinary people", said Gurgen, a 61-year-old unemployed man who was among the crowd.

Pashinian spearheaded the protests that forced Serzh Sargsyan to resign after less than a week as premier.

Noting that many corruption scandals in the world are offshore deals and money overseas, he proposed to establish a special state agency, for example, the ethics committee, for controlling accounts of Armenian officials at any spot all over the world.

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The national Assembly of Armenia did not support the candidate Nikol Pashinian for the post of Prime Minister.

The Republican Party has not nominated its candidate.

In a heated address after the vote, Pashinyan said a nationwide strike in Armenia would be held starting Wednesday.

Pashinyan will need at least 53 votes to be elected Prime Minister, which means he will require at least 6 votes from the ruling party. Acting Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, a close Sargsyan ally and a former executive for Russian gas giant Gazprom, will stay in place. Pashinyan called for his "peaceful, nonviolent disobedience" to continue on Wednesday, asking people in the country of 3 million to block all roads, including access to the global airport in Yerevan.

Under Armenia's constitution, the failure of parliament to confirm a prime minister triggers a second vote by the legislature that has been scheduled for May 8.

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But some warned that Tuesday's vote might spark violent protests despite Pashinyan's pledges.

The source earlier said Pashinyan and the Republican Party had struck a backdoor deal several days ago, with the ruling party agreeing to support his bid. Not a single Republican lawmaker appeared to have voted for him.

56 deputies from the RPA faction voted against, two did not take part in the voting. Later, dozens of them took the floor to speak about Pashinyan's candidacy.

"Authorities have made a decision to bide for time, trying to get the opposition to offer concessions", Alexander Iskanderian, director of the Caucasus Institute in Yerevan, said.

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