New Prime Minister elections set for May 1; Pashinyan rules out compromise

By Asbarez | Friday, 27 April 2018

Thousands turned out for another rally on Thursday at Republic Square as the election of a new prime minister was set for May 1 (Photolure)

Thousands turned out for another rally on Thursday at Republic Square as the election of a new prime minister was set for May 1 (Photolure)

YEREVAN—Armenia’s Parliament Speaker Ara Bablyan on Thursday announced that the National Assembly would vote on Tuesday, May 1 to elect a new prime minister, as thousands turned out for another rally at Republic Square headed by Nikol Pashinyan who ruled out any compromise.

Pashinyan, who on Wednesday called for the complete capitulation of the Republican Party of Armenia, agreed to an earlier proposal by the party to meet and invited acting prime minister Karen Karapetyan to talks on Friday at noon at the Marriot Hotel in front of television cameras and journalists.

On Wednesday Karapetyan canceled agreed upon talks with Pashinyan, citing the latter’s preconditions for the meeting.

On Thursday morning, however, the Republican Party of Armenia signaled its readiness to meet with the opposition leader after former prime minister Serzh Sarkisian gathered the party’s parliamentary faction and urged them to regard “stability and the country’s security” as their main priority. The group also signaled that Sarkisian would be replaced as the head of the party, which is facing pressure to hand over power to Pashinyan.

“I either will be elected prime minister through the people, by their demand, and with their support, or no prime minister at all will be elected in the republic of Armenia,” Pashinyan said at a rally Republic Square Thursday. “There can be no compromise with the corrupt and antinational system.”

“We expect that all parliamentary factions will recognize the people’s victory unconditionally, without conditions, without preconditions,” Pashinyan told the crowd, saying there was “no other option.”

Pashinyan also held a meeting with businessman Gagik Tsarukian, who told his Prosperous Armenia Party to join the popular movement that forced Sarkisian’s resignation Monday and has been going strong since to ensure that concrete changes are in place for the future of Armenia.

“One thing is absolutely clear. In our decisions we will be guided by the voice of the people, by the people’s will,” Tsarukian said, adding that his party’s decision to back Pashinyan will be announced after negotiations are completed.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation, whose Supreme Council of Armenia on Wednesday announced that it was pulling out of the power sharing agreement with the Republican Party of Armenia, on Thursday said its ministers and two provincial governors would step down.

Armenia’s acting ministers of Education, Territorial Administration and Environmental Protection, Levon Mkrtchyan, Davit Lokyan and Artsvik Minasyan respectively, tendered their resignations in line with the party’s decision to leave the coalition. They were joined by Artur Khachatryan, the governor of Shirak and Ashot Simonyan, the governor of Aragatsotn.