YEREVAN: The head of Armenia's ruling party in parliament said on Thursday that the country would get a new prime minister on May 8 after more than two weeks of street protests which have rocked Russia's close ally.
The remarks by Vahram Baghdasaryan, head of the ruling Republican Party, are likely to raise prospects of the South Caucasus country finding a peaceful way out of a political crisis that has worried its former Soviet master, Moscow.
Baghdasaryan, speaking after meeting lawmaker Nikol Pashinyan who has led the protests against the ruling elite, told Reuters his party would support anyone on May 8 - including Pashinyan - if the candidate enjoyed the backing of one third of lawmakers.
The apparent climb down -- the Republican Party had previously objected to Pashinyan's candidacy -- came after a day of civil disobedience on Wednesday which blocked roads and railways and brought parts of the country to a standstill.
"We announced that the Republican Party will not put forward a candidate for the premier's post," Baghdasaryan said after the meeting.
"We will provide support to the candidate put forward by one third of parliament's deputies whether it's Pashinyan or someone else, and on May 8 Armenia will have a prime minister."
May 8 is when parliament plans to choose Armenia's next premier.
Baghdasaryan's party has already sown confusion over its intentions, saying last week it would not stop Pashinyan becoming prime minister, and then opposing his candidacy when it was put to a vote in parliament on Tuesday.
If parliament fails at a second attempt, on May 8, to choose a new prime minister, the legislature will be dissolved and early parliamentary elections called.