Armenian ruling party to vote for PM nominee: lawmaker

Velvet Revolution

Armenian lawmakers elected opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan as Prime Minister of Armenia.

Members of Pashinyan's Civil Contract party hailed Tuesday as a "historic day", with MP Lena Nazaryan saying it was the culmination of decades of despair and struggle.

The Armenian opposition leader who is almost certain to become the country's prime minister says he will not seek political revenge in the wake of the past month of tensions.

Pashinyan was the only candidate for prime minister.

Today, Acting Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan applied to President of the Republic of Armenia Armen Sarkissian with the request to terminate his duties as Acting First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia. But his Republican party, which holds a majority in parliament, thwarted Pashinyan's first bid to replace him. The previous Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan resigned amid mass demonstrations of opposition supporters. While the Republicans could block those, in theory, doing so would trigger snap elections in which they would certainly lose seats.

"The spring of liberation has come to Armenia", one Pashinyan supporter, 56-year-old Sona Paremuzyan, told AFP in Yerevan.

Mr Pashinyan, who led what has become known as Armenia's "Velvet Revolution", promised MPs that human rights would be protected, and that corruption and election-rigging would end.

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Armenia's turmoil began on April 17 when Sargsyan, who had previously served two five-year terms as president, was appointed prime minister - just eight days after his presidency ended.

"There will be no privileged people in Armenia".

Events in the small south Caucuses state have been closely watched in Moscow, an ally of Armenia.

Pashinian went into hiding following the deadly suppression on March 1-2, 2008 of post-election protests in Yerevan. That move appeared to ensure Pashinian would be chosen Tuesday. The prime minister is now the head of government, and controls the army, police, National Security Service and the Security Council.

Pashinian, is a former journalist who edited Armenia's best-selling daily newspaper, "Haykakan Zhamanak", from 1999-2012. He was nominated y the ruling Republican Party.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Pashinyan on his victory.

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