Pashinian: 'No vendetta' if he becomes Armenian premier

The Armenian Parliament Tuesday elected opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan as the country's prime minister.

The hugely popular Pashinyan has in recent weeks piled pressure on the ruling party through an unprecedented campaign of civil disobedience that plunged the Moscow-allied nation into its most serious political crisis in years. To elect him, it was necessary to get at least 53 votes.

Armenia's parliament has opened a session to elect a main minister, for which opposition lawmaker and protest chief Nikol Pashinian is the one nominee.

In December 2015, controversial constitutional amendments initiated by Sarkisian were passed after a referendum that saw some 63 percent of the voters backing the country's transformation into a parliamentary republic with executive powers fully concentrated in the hands of a prime minister. However, the HHK said it will not block the election and will support it.

Lawmakers elected Pashinyan by a 59-42 vote after the leader of the ruling Republican Party, Vahram Baghdasarian, announced his party would give Pashinyan 11 votes - which helped put him over the top.

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In his speech before the vote, Pashinyan called on Armenia's people to come together behind the new government he will lead.

"We chose a new road in Armenia where the driver will be the people and not clans".

Before the vote, the opposition leader pledged that his first visit the head of government would be a visit to Nagorno Karabakh on May 9.

"The leadership will not be a means to earn money. My goal is bring real changes to Armenia".

Since it emerged as an independent state after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia, a majority Christian country, has been locked in a territorial conflict with mainly-Muslim Azerbaijan, and under economic blockade from Turkey. "Corruption will be eliminated from Armenia", he said. Pashinian earlier said that he would push for recognition of the region's sovereignty. It remains to be seen whether the HHK, which continues to control the majority of seats in the parliament, will agree to them. Later, he joined the protest movement lead by the First President of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrosyan (1991-1998), who was again nominated as presidential candidate in 2007, so challenging Serzh Sargsyan during the presidential elections. He said his ministers will be chosen "as a result of discussions" with his allies and other political groups. So Mr. Pashinyan went to Yerevan's central Republic Square, the throbbing heart of the protests, where an estimated 250,000 people had gathered, and called for a nationwide strike at 8:15 the next morning. "And for me, my goal isn't to become prime minister". "The victory is the fact that it's you who have decided who must be prime minister of Armenia".


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