Karen Karapetyan resigns and congratulates new Armenian prime minister

Armenia’s opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan

Artyom Geodakyan TASS

The leader of Armenian protests Nikol Pashinyan has been elected prime minister by Armenia's parliament with 59 votes to 42 in favour of his candidacy.

"Representatives of the party will not be members of the government".

After the ruling Republican Party narrowly blocked his first bid for prime minister on May 1 despite initially promising not to stand in the way, Pashinyan staged a general strike that shut down the capital Yerevan and other cities.

He is now looking ahead to the plan the new prime minister will present to parliament, but also hopes the protesting will continue.

"By the end of the parliamentary session Armenia will have a prime minister". He said his first priority was to organize the first fair parliamentary elections in many years.

The hugely popular Pashinyan had in recent weeks piled pressure on the ruling party through an unprecedented campaign of civil disobedience, leading to the shock resignation of veteran leader Serzh Sarkisian, a week after he shifted to the newly-empowered role of prime minister after serving for 10 years as president. However, the HHK said it will not block the election and will support it.

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Within an hour of the vote, Pashinyan traveled to Republic Square in central Yerevan to greet his supporters, who waved Armenian flags and balloons as a rock band performed live music. "There will be no people with privileged rights in Armenia, everyone will be equal before the law", he stressed. In particular, he reiterated that Armenia will remain part of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). "Many people will want to see a country that has carried out this revolution of love and solidarity", he said.

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.

It has been an unlikely rise to power in the post-Soviet republic of about three million for the former newspaper editor.

Pending fresh elections "Pashinyan must manoeuvre between the will of the people and the parliamentary ruling party that he does not belong to and which can not begin supporting him", he said.

As EADaily reported earlier, Serzh Sargsyan resigned on April 23 amidst protest actions against his election.

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