Published: Wed, May 02, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Denied Power, Armenian Opposition Leader Urges Nationwide Strikes

Denied Power, Armenian Opposition Leader Urges Nationwide Strikes

The only candidate for the post of prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan said on Tuesday, May 1 that it is unusual to talk about mutual concessions on the Nagorno Karabakh issue when Azerbaijan is trying to destroy the Armenian statehood.

The leader of an Armenian protest movement that forced the country's veteran leader to step down announced on Tuesday a nationwide campaign of civil disobedience after the ruling party thwarted his bid to take over as prime minister.

Pashinyan, a member of parliament in a small opposition party, received 45 votes, eight fewer than necessary to win.

Speaking with journalists on Monday, Pashinyan said his main project as interim prime minister would be to organise new free and fair parliamentary elections for the post of prime minister.

Party officials said over the weekend that Republican lawmakers would vote as a bloc, leaving uncertain prospects for Pashinian.

Whether or not he gets the job, left open by the resignation of long-time leader Serzh Sarksyan after two weeks of anti-government protests, depends on a parliamentary vote to be held on Tuesday.

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Tens of thousands of Pashinyan's supporters had rallied during the day as parliament members debated. He subsequently called on his supporters to pour out on the streets and assemble at the capital's Republic Square in protest.

In response to a question from a lawmaker from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) Arman Saghatelyan on the Karabakh settlement process, Pashinyan said negotiations on Karabakh are held only for the sake of negotiations and are of a formal nature.

Sargsyan resigned from his new post of prime minister last week after serving as president for a decade in the face of the protests.

They also accuse Sarkisian and his dominant Republican Party of widespread corruption and failing to raise living standards.

"It showed once again that they don't care about us, about the ordinary people", said Gurgen, a 61-year-old unemployed man who was among the crowd.

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