Armenian ruling party to vote for PM nominee: lawmaker

Armenia’s opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan

Armenia's opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan has been elected as the new prime minister two weeks after Serzh Sargsyan resigned following widespread anti-government demonstrations.

Armenia's parliament has opened a session to elect a main minister, for which opposition lawmaker and protest chief Nikol Pashinian is the one nominee. "The Republican Party's votes will go towards making up for any votes missing from the 53 needed for the election of a prime minister", member of parliament Samvel Farmanyan said.

At a concert in the city Monday night, Pashinyan appeared alongside System of a Down front man Serj Tankian, who gave his support to the former journalist and was also present in parliament Tuesday for the vote.

In his speech before the vote, Pashinyan called on Armenia's people to come together behind the new government he will lead.

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Pashinyan, born in 1975, spearheaded a protest movement that first forced veteran leader Serzh Sarksyan to step down as prime minister and then pressured the ruling party to abandon attempts to block his election as prime minister, the country's most powerful post.

Two other factions in addition to Pashinyan's Yelk have endorsed the opposition leader's candidacy - the ARF and the Tsarukyan. Elections will not be rigged and vote bribes will not be handed out anymore, period!

"I am 95 percent sure that your candidate will be elected as prime minister tomorrow", Pashinan told the cheering crowd. "Armenia will once and for all turn the page of political persecutions".

In a referendum in 2015, Armenia adopted constitutional changes to move the powers from the president to the prime minister.

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"There will be no privileged people in Armenia".

The hugely popular Pashinyan has in recent weeks piled pressure on the ruling party through an unprecedented campaign of civil disobedience that plunged the Moscow-allied nation into its most serious political crisis in years.

"On the other hand, as the protest movement has shown, he can be flexible", he said. He worked as Prime Minister for just 7 days. He surrendered to law-enforcement authorities in July 2009 and was subsequently tried and sentenced to seven years in prison on charges stemming from the unrest. He was nominated y the ruling Republican Party. The thousands of protests in the country began on April 13.

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