Armenian opposition leader nominated for PM

Armenian opposition leader nominated for PM

Armenian opposition leader nominated for PM

Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan was formally nominated for the post of prime minister by his supporters, inching closer to victory after two weeks of protests that transformed the country’s political landscape.

Pashinyan has called a halt to protests in order to hold high-stakes talks with all political forces ahead of a crucial vote on May 1 and swapped his trademark khaki-colored T-shirt for a smart business suit.

“We are facing the task of resolving the political crisis in the country,” he told reporters in parliament, announcing the nomination by his Elk coalition.

“If a prime minister is not elected tomorrow, this crisis will not disappear.”

The leader of the protest movement that ousted the country’s veteran leader Serzh Sargsyan last week, Pashinyan is the only candidate in the running for the premiership and insists that only he can rid Armenia of corruption and poverty and conduct free and fair parliamentary elections.

However, the 42-year-old former newspaper editor still needs a handful of votes from the ruling Republican Party - which has a majority of seats in parliament - to seal his victory in a vote by lawmakers on May 1.

The party headed by ousted prime minister Sarkgysan has yet to announce its official stance on the vote, even though a senior lawmaker, Vahram Baghdasaryan, has said it would not stand in the way of Pashinyan’s candidacy.

The protest leader said he would not beg the Republicans for votes. “I don’t have to and will not coax them,” he said.

Many political observers said it was highly likely that Pashinyan would be elected prime minister, in a whirlwind development that was unimaginable just two weeks ago in the poor South Caucasus country of 2.9 million people.

“I see practically no obstacles to Pashinyan becoming a prime minister tomorrow,” political analyst Hakob Badalyan told AFP.

“There is political consensus including among the Republicans that the settling of the crisis in this way would serve the interests of the country.”

Another analyst, Ervand Bozoyan, said Pashinyan made everyday Armenians believe that they matter and have the right to determine the future of their country themselves.

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