Armenia protest leader calls for general strike

Armenia crisis: Opposition leader Pashinyan faces PM vote

Armenia crisis: Opposition leader Pashinyan faces PM vote

Nikol Pashinyan, the leader of the opposition Yelq (Exit) movement who has accused Sargsyan and his ruling Republican Party of mass election fraud and vote buying, is demanding that the Republican-controlled parliament elect him as interim prime minister so he can organize free and fair elections in Armenia.

Speaking about Nikol Pashinyan, the only candidate nominated for the prime minister's post, the lawmaker said to be surprised by Pashinyan's replies to the deputies' questions.

Under Armenia's legislation, in case parliament members fail to elect a prime minister, another round of voting should be held within seven days.

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Elections are the key means to settle issues, Yelk (Way Out) opposition faction MP Aram Sargsyan said in his speech delivered at today's special session of the National Assembly on the election of the new prime minister. For election to the post of Prime Minister Pashinyan must receive at least 53 votes in Parliament.

The protest leader asked people to meet at Republic Square in the capital, Yerevan, to celebrate what he called "the public victory over hopelessness, emigration and uncertainty".

"Mr Pashinyan has failed to convince us", Bagdasaryan said.

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Thousands of opposition supporters spent the day rallying out the parliament building to support Mr Pashinian.

The candidate for the PM's post said that in order to protect against Azeri aggression, the Armenian people need to concentrate their potential and mobilize all forces.

Baghdasarian's announcement and the vote was assailed by angry shouts and waving fists from thousands of people who stood in central Yerevan's Republic Square throughout the day watching the parliamentary proceedings on a large screen television. The Republican Party has not nominated its candidate. Some voters accuse Sarksyan and his associates of cronyism and corruption, an allegation they deny.

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Pashinyan has pledged to keep Armenia close to Moscow, saying the changes he wants to make would instead focus on rooting out graft.

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