Karapetyan, Putin Talk; Endorse May 1 Election of New Armenian Prime Minister

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Armenia's ruling elite has been scrambling to try to appease the protesters and the parliamentary speaker said on Thursday parliament would elect a new prime minister on May 1.

On Thursday, the Republican Party reiterated its readiness to discuss "any issues" without preconditions and declared that former prime minister Serzh Sargsyan would be replaced as the party's chairman.

Pashinyan, a former journalist turned lawmaker who has been instrumental in organizing the protests, has said he is ready to become prime minister.

Russian Federation - which has a military base in Armenia - has pledged it would not intervene but its top officials welcomed counterparts from the South Caucasus nation for talks on Thursday and Putin discussed the crisis with Karapetyan.

During yesterday's protest rally at Republic Square, participants confirmed that opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan would stand as the people's candidate for the post of prime minister.

Pashinyan and his allies have been busy trying to build support for him with the ruling Republican Party and other parties and Pashinyan is expected to hold talks with Gagik Tsarukyan, the leader of the second-biggest party in parliament, later on Thursday.

However, despite Sarkisian's resignation and the departure of the junior partner from the HKK's governing coalition on April 25, the HKK still controls a majority with 58 lawmakers in the 105-seat parliament.

Rain chances this evening, cooler weather and sunshine this weekend
Highs on Thursday afternoon should be well into the 50s, if not the lower 60s by the afternoon. Our best chances for rain will be later this afternoon and into the evening commute.

An Armenian government press release states that Acting Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone today and discussed the political situation in Armenia.

Two weeks of demonstrations looked to have peaked when Serzh Sarksyan quit as prime minister. A candidate would need 53 votes to get elected.

"The people have already shown their force", she said.

"The Republican Party has lost its power, and should recognise the victory of the people without any conditions", he said.

However, the Armenian opposition continued mass protests on the streets and on Wednesday canceled talks planned between Karapetyan and Pashinyan.

Denying this reality would be a political shortsightedness.

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