He Was a Protester. Now, Nikol Pashinyan Is Armenia's Prime Minister

Armenian Protest Leader Gets Second Chance At Prime Minister In Parliamentary Vote

Armenia's parliament on Tuesday elected opposition lawmaker and protest leader Nikol Pashinian as prime minister, marking a dramatic peaceful change in power after a weeks-long political crisis. Nearly all MPs from the Republican Party of Armenia voted against appointing the leader of the Velvet Revolution as the head of the government.

The parliamentary vote follows weeks of protests spearheaded by Pashinian that forced longtime Armenian leader Serzh Sarksyan to step down as premier last month after only six days in the position.

New Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan (R) receives interview in the parliament in Yerevan, Armenia, on May 8, 2018.

Under a 2015 referendum marred by irregularities, Armenia shifted powers from the presidency to parliament. But his Republican party, which holds a majority in parliament, thwarted Pashinyan's first bid to replace him.

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The head of the ruling Republican Party's parliamentary faction, Vagram Bagdasaryan, said his party backed Pashinyan to "ensure stability" in the country.

Analyst Vigen Akopyan said snap elections looked certain.

The majority of deputies of the National Assembly supported Pashinyan.

Supporters of Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan attend a rally in downtown Yerevan.

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"There will be no privileged people in Armenia".

She said she hopes Pashinyan will "clean the system" and "protect the people's interests", adding: "There is no need to keep protesting; now we're just going to celebrate".

At the tense, eight-hour session the week before, Republicans peppered Pashinyan with questions about his commitment to Armenia's ties with Russian Federation, the country's traditional family values, and economic growth.

Pashinian went into hiding following the deadly suppression on March 1-2, 2008 of post-election protests in Yerevan. That transfer appeared to make sure Pashinian can be chosen Tuesday. He first ran for the parliament in 2007 as the top candidate of an opposition group that challenged then President Robert Kocharian. As a result of the protests, 23 APR Sargsyan has resigned.

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Pending fresh elections "Pashinyan must manoeuvre between the will of the people and the parliamentary ruling party that he does not belong to and which can not begin supporting him", he said.

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