Armenian president signs decree on Pashinyan's appointment as PM

Armenian president signs decree on Pashinyan's appointment as PM

Since it emerged as an independent state after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia, a majority Christian country, has been locked in a territorial conflict with mainly-Muslim Azerbaijan, and under economic blockade from Turkey.

Azerbaijan insists that any resolution of the issue must keep Nagorno-Karabakh as a part of the country. Pashinian earlier said that he would push for recognition of the region's sovereignty. Fighting periodically breaks out between those forces and Azerbaijani troops stationed on the other side of a demilitarized zone.

"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. Touching upon the nominee's passed path, the MP has noted that an opportunity is given not to go against the people of Armenia, the state interests, the national security of Armenia and Artsakh and called on to make use of that unique opportunity.

Supporters say Mr Pashinyan, who was also imprisoned after opposition rallies in 2008 turned deadly, is among history's great peaceful revolutionaries.

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Pashinian told journalists on May 7 that he will not seek revenge against his political adversaries if elected. Nearly all MPs from the Republican Party of Armenia voted against appointing the leader of the Velvet Revolution as the head of the government.

"We do not consider it expedient to cooperate with the new government; it would be hypocritical to consider the issue of our participation in the new government", said Armen Ashotyan, a Republican faction leader.

Russian President Vladimir Putin later sent a telegram congratulating Pashinyan on his election, hoping that he will strengthen ties between the two countries, said the Kremlin according to the RIA news agency.

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.

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Less than a week later, on April 23, Sargsyan resigned amid continuing protests.

After failing to get enough votes in parliament's May 1 vote, Pashinian was nominated again on May 3 by his Yelk faction and allied opposition parties, and remains the only official candidate for prime minister. It has direct land access only to a narrow border with Iran and to Georgia. He said his first priority was to organize the first fair parliamentary elections in many years.

Armenia is strongly dependent on Russian Federation, the source of about 30 percent of the country's imports.

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