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Opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan is Armenia's new PM

Opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan is Armenia's new PM

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Nikol Pashinyan. (Xinhua/Gevorg Ghazaryan/IANS)
Tbilisi, May 8 (IANS) Armenia's Parliament on Tuesday elected opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan as the country's new Prime Minister, two weeks after massive anti-government protests led to his predecessor Serzh Sargsyan's resignation.
Pashinyan, who leads the liberal Yelk ("Way Out") coalition, spearheaded weeks of protests which brought an end to 10 years of rule by Sargsyan, the BBC reported.
He received 59 votes from his fellow lawmakers in the National Assembly, six more than the minimum needed to become head of government.
Minutes after his election, Pashinyan vowed to bring "big changes" to the small Caucasian nation of barely 3 million inhabitants.
Pashinyan, who led what has become known as Armenia's "Velvet Revolution", promised MPs that human rights would be protected and that corruption and election-rigging would end.
"All people are equal before the law. There will be no people enjoying privileges in Armenia. That's it. Full stop," he said.
Armenia is dependent on Russia for its security and has a Russian military base on its territory. Its peaceful uprising against single-party rule is seen as unprecedented for a former Soviet state, the BBC said.
Pashinyan told MPs that relations with Moscow would be a priority, particularly military co-operation. Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed Pashinyan's success, looking forward to continuing "friendly relations".
Pashinyan promised snap elections as soon as "the conditions are right for a legitimate vote to take place". He said he had no intention to cling to power but will first have to persuade Parliament to approve his Cabinet.
Last Tuesday, Parliament -- controlled by the rival Republican Party -- had rejected his candidacy to replace Sargsyan.
Protesters rallied against what they said was a "corrupt, oligarchic and nepotist government that had burdened them with a lack of opportunities".
Pashinyan, 42, is a former journalist and editor who in 2013 co-founded the political party Civil Contract, which went on to join forces with the parties Bright Armenia and Republic to form the centrist Yelk alliance that obtained only nine assembly seats in the 2017 parliamentary elections.
--IANS
soni/vm

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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