The Armenian parliament voted to elect opposition leader Nikol Pashinian prime minister on Tuesday nearly one month after he launched sustained anti-government protests that led to resignation of Armenia’s longtime leader, Serzh Sarkisian.
Pashinian was backed by 59 of the 105 members of the National Assembly. They included 13 lawmakers representing Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). Forty-two other HHK deputies voted against him.
The HHK’s parliamentary leader, Vahram Baghdasarian, made clear just before the vote that his party still has serious doubts about Pashinian’s ability to govern Armenia but will nonetheless help him become prime minister in order to restore “political stability” in the country.
“Mr. Pashinian, you will be elected prime minister … God willing, you will dispel the lingering concerns of the HHK faction,” said Baghdasarian.
“I will serve the people of Armenia and the Republic of Armenia,” Pashinian declared immediately after the vote which sparked jubilant scenes in Yerevan’s Republic Square where tens of thousands of his supporters gathered to celebrate his widely anticipated rise to power.
Addressing the parliament before the vote, Pashinian pledged to implement “very serious reforms” that would democratize Armenia, strengthen the rule of law and radically improve the domestic business environmental.
“All people are equal before the law, period!” he said. “There will be no privileged people in Armenia, period! Elections will not be rigged and vote bribes will not be handed out anymore, period! There will be no artificial economic monopolies, period! Human rights will be protected, government will not be a means for making money, and corruption will be rooted out, period!”