Armenia lawmakers reject opposition leader Nikol Pashinian as PM

The chamber voted 45-55 on Pashinian's nomination after a nine-hour-long session on Tuesday.

Published: 01st May 2018 10:40 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st May 2018 10:40 PM   |  A+A-

Armenian PM Serzh Sarkisian, left, with protest leader Nikol Pashinian (AP)

By AFP

YEREVAN: The Latest on the political upheaval in Armenia (all times local):

The Armenian parliament has voted against naming protest leader Nikol Pashinian as the country's new prime minister.

The chamber voted 45-55 on Pashinian's nomination after a nine-hour-long session on Tuesday.

Thousands of opposition supporters spent the day rallying out the parliament building to support Pashinian. The Armenian Constitution dictates that parliament will convene next week for another vote.

While addressing fellow lawmakers earlier in the day, Pashinian warned that Armenia would be struck by a "political tsunami" if he were not appointed as prime minister.

The vote was called after Serzh Sargsyan, who led Armenia as president for 10 years and left office in early April because of term limits, stepped down amid the mass anti-government protests Pashinian led.

Tens of thousands of people have packed a square outside Armenia's parliament building as it prepares to vote on a new prime minister.

The Elk or "Exit" opposition alliance announced lawmaker Nikol Pashinian's nomination at the start of Tuesday's session. Pashinian led the recent protests that forced former President Serzh Sargsyan to step down as prime minister after less than a week.

Pashinian later took the floor to answer fellow deputies' questions. He is the only candidate for prime minister, but the chamber is controlled by the Sargsyan's ruling party.

Pashinian has warned that Armenia will be plunged into a crisis if he is not made prime minister.

Armenia's parliament is set to vote for a new prime minister following two weeks of protests which pushed a long-time leader to resign.

Serzh Sargsyan who ruled Armenia as president for 10 years before moving into the premier's office resigned last month. The opposition in the Caucasus Mountains country saw Sargsyan's move into the prime minister's chair as an attempt to stay in power indefinitely.

Protest leader Nikol Pashinian has been nominated to become prime minister by the country's major opposition factions.

He and his supporters have already vowed to resume mass protests if parliament fails to vote for him.

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