The Armenian parliament has elected opposition politician and leader of the protest movements Nikol Pashinyan to be the new Prime Minister. The vote took place on May 8 in the National Assembly (Armenian parliament).
The opposition leader secured votes from 59 of the 101 MPs present at the vote, making him the 16th Prime Minister of Armenia. 42 parliamentarians voted against him.
Pashinyan, who is the head of the Elk parliamentary faction, was the only candidate for the PM position.
According to Armenian news agency Panarmenian, thousands of people gathered in the central square of Yerevan to watch a live broadcast of the parliamentary session.
On May 1, the Republican party of Armenia, which holds the majority in parliament, blocked Pashinyan’s election after he called on his supporters to block the roads and airport in Yerevan. He received only 45 votes out of the 53 needed to win.
This triggered a new round of protests, after which the ruling party agreed to support Pashynian’s election as head of the government.
Protesters began blocking roads in the capital city on April 20. People took to the streets against PM Serzh Sargsyan, who had been the president of the country for 10 years and had just been elected to his new position.
According to the new constitution, the president has extremely limited powers and, instead, the main authority lies with the Prime Minister. Sargsyan initiated these changes himself, although, at the time, he stated that he had no ambition to become PM.
On April 23, servicemen joined the opposition, who were demanding PM Serzh Sargsyan’s resignation. The Armenian Ministry of Defense promised to punish the soldiers for their participation in the protests. Pashinyan was then detained, but later released. The opposition wanted to the protests in Yerevan to continue indefinitely.