Armenian lawmakers to vote on new prime minister after resignation of Sargsyan

Armenian lawmakers to vote on new prime minister after resignation of Sargsyan

Armenian lawmakers will elect a new prime minister today, eight days after mass protests forced former president Serzh Sargsyan out

armenia prime minister

Phot: Reuters/Hayk Baghdasaryan/Photolure

Armenian lawmakers will elect a new prime minister today, eight days after mass protests forced former president Serzh Sargsyan out of the premiership.

Critics accuse Mr Sargsyan of deliberately timing his appointment as prime minister shortly after legislation weakening the presidency and strengthening the premiership was enacted.

The leader of the protests, opposition politician Nikol Pashinyan, is making a bid for prime minister. Mr Sargsyan’s Republican Party has announced that it will not nominate a Republican replacement but have yet to explicitly endorse another candidate.

The pressure of more mass protests, along with the exit of a junior partner of the majority coalition, may be enough to put Republicans behind the populist Mr Pashinyan. However, his calls for electoral reform and new elections might intimidate the majority into backing another Republican candidate instead.

For the Republican Party, it’s a lose-lose: it risks provoking more mass protests by not backing Mr Pashinyan or long-term electoral losses if it does. In the event of his appointment, Mr Pashinyan will likely push for legislative and potentially constitutional reform in order to devolve power back to the people for the next election.

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