Armenian Assembly Fails to Elect New Prime Minister – Protests to Continue

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In an emergency session of the Armenian Assembly, the country’s unicameral legislative body, self-described opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan sought the Assembly’s election as the country’s next Prime Minister and head of government. In spite of contesting the election unopposed, Pashinyan did not receive sufficient votes to win office.

Currently, Pashinyan’s Yelk party only has 9 members of the 105 member Assembly. However, after securing support of the main opposition Tsarukyan Alliance, the total number of votes that Pashinyan could theoretically rely on became 40.

While 43 members of the assembly voted for Pashinyan, he failed to reach the 53 vote threshold for the required quorum of votes. Earlier in the day Pashinyan vowed to create a “tsunami” of protests if he was not duly elected.

Last week interim Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan indicated that he will seek a mandate for fresh elections from the country’s President, although the attempt by Pashinyan to win over the Republican controlled Assembly had forestalled this. Now that Pashinyan has failed to secure enough votes to become Prime Minister by the current Assembly, he will look to renew calls for snap elections.

Today’s vote which many expected Pashinyan to win with the support of a Republican party that appeared to capitulate to his every demand, represents a setback to Pashinyan’s desire for a smooth transition to a leadership position. While the leaders of the ruling party have more or less said that they are ready to pave the way for Pashinyan, other ordinary Assembly members from the Republican party clearly exercised their independence in blocking a man from a small opposition party from becoming Prime Minister.

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