Armenians protest as acting leader suggests new elections

25 April, 2018, 15:20 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan speaks during a news conference in Yerevan Armenia

But acting prime minister Karen Karapetyan, an ally of the ousted Sarksyan, said it was important to stay united amid the political tumult.

Sargsyan downplayed that pledged last month when he signaled his plans to become prime minister and thus remain the country's most powerful man.

As they do each year, thousands of Armenians walked through the capital on Tuesday to commemorate the massacre of their people over a century ago, though this time was different: The crowds were triumphantly led by an opposition leader who a day earlier had managed to push Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan out of office.

"The Armenians through civil disobedience and his own voice forced to resign, Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan", - he said in his Twitter.

Police officers on Republic Square in Yerevan where opposition rallies take place
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It was a rare victory for people power in a region dominated by authoritarian strongmen like Russia's Vladimir Putin and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who have sought to crush demonstrations challenging their rule.

Protest rallies started in Armenia on April 13. Almost 200 people were detained, including Pashinyan who was "forcibly taken", The Guardian reported. And with Sargsyan gone, Armenia's victorious protesters are unlikely to accept the status quo, said Shirinyan.

On April 24, Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Karen Karapetyan met with Artsakh Republic President Bako Sahakyan.

However, the second biggest party in parliament said on Wednesday it was joining the protest movement and would encourage its supporters to take to the streets.

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Political turmoil enveloped the landlocked country of 2.9 million people after Sarkisian was elected prime minister by lawmakers after serving two successive presidential terms. Unlike in some of its neighbors, Armenia's social-media space remains free. Research tells us that a parliamentary system is more conducive to democratization than a (semi)presidential one since it is supposed to provide people with more direct power. The ministry said Russian Federation is following developments in Armenia closely and wishes the country a smooth and peaceful political transition.

During hastily organized and televised negotiations, Pashinyan said that the protesters' main demand was Sargsyan's resignation.

In another move likely to prolong the political crisis that has rocked one of Russia's closest allies from the former Soviet Union, Pashinyan said on Tuesday he was ready to be the country's next premier and would keep up pressure on the ruling elite until it agreed to real change.

Pashinyan and others are anxious Sargsyan may still be an influential figure behind the scenes in the ruling Republican party of Armenia.

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The 42-year-old politician said the velvet revolution he had helped bring about was not over and that the next step would be the election of a new prime minister by parliament and the holding of an early parliamentary election.

"I don't know any country where a prime minister is chosen like that".

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