YEREVAN (Armenpress and RFE/RL) — The Armenian parliament voted to elect opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan prime minister on Tuesday, May 8, nearly one month after he launched sustained anti-government protests that led to resignation of Armenia’s longtime leader, Serzh Sargsyan.
Pashinyan was backed by 59 of the 105 members of the National Assembly. They included 13 lawmakers representing Sargsyan’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). Forty-two other HHK deputies voted against him.
The HHK’s parliamentary leader, Vahram Baghdasaryan, made clear just before the vote that his party still has serious doubts about Pashinyan’s ability to govern Armenia but will nonetheless help him become prime minister in order to restore “political stability” in the country.
“Mr. Pashinyan, you will be elected prime minister … God willing, you will dispel the lingering concerns of the HHK faction,” said Baghdasaryan.
“I will serve the people of Armenia and the Republic of Armenia,” Pashinyan declared immediately after the vote which sparked jubilant scenes in Yerevan’s Republic Square where tens of thousands of his supporters gathered to celebrate his widely anticipated rise to power.
Addressing the parliament before the vote, Pashinyan pledged to implement “very serious reforms” that would democratize Armenia, strengthen the rule of law and radically improve the domestic business environmental.