Armenian president signs decree on Pashinyan's appointment as PM

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The Armenian parliament voted 59-42 Tuesday to elect Pashinian, who headed weeks of huge protests. The Republican Party (HHK) faction, the ruling party of Armenia, has 58 seats in the 105-seat unicameral parliament of Armenia - known as the National Assembly.

Many Armenians have stewed for years about the country's poverty and widespread corruption, but Pashinian was able to galvanize that discontent into a mass movement that was raucous but largely peaceful.

Mr Pashinyan, who led what has become known as Armenia's "Velvet Revolution", promised MPs that human rights would be protected, and that corruption and election-rigging would end.

Pashinyan's rise from a fringe opposition lawmaker to prime minister has been meteoric: Six weeks ago, he was walking through the Armenian countryside, Gandhi-style, protesting what he said was cronyism in the small country of 3 million amid accusations that Sargsyan had altered the constitution to stay in power. Pashinyan claims he's not planning to alter Armenia's current foreign policy course, including the country's membership in Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union or keeping Russian military bases on Armenia's territory.

Nikol Pashinian, who was named the new prime minister by parliament on Tuesday, has repeatedly said that he would not seek to change Armenia's cooperation with Russian Federation.

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"I can assure you that there will not be oligarchs in government", Pashinian said, adding, "There will be no monopolies in our economy if I am elected". Rock musicians took to a central stage, where they played to jubilant crowds of mostly young people waving the tricolor Armenian flag and photos of Pashinyan.

The road ahead will be tough not least because Pashinyan will be stuck with the recalcitrant Republican Party majority indefinitely.

In his turn, Pashinyan showed no inclination to back off on his ambitious agenda to remake the country, and no indication that he wanted or expected any cooperation from the Republicans.

New Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan gives a speech in the parliament in Yerevan, Armenia, on May 8, 2018.

As EADaily reported earlier, Serzh Sargsyan resigned on April 23 amidst protest actions against his election. He said his first priority was to organize the first fair parliamentary elections in many years.

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