Wednesday, 25 April, 2018

Armenia's ex-president elected PM in the face of protests

Thousands Crowd Central Yerevan Ahead Of Prime Minister Vote Armenia Protest
Lillian Steele | 17 April, 2018, 18:45

The only candidate is former Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan nominated by the ruling Republican Party and its coalition partner, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun).

Nikol Pashinyan called on friends and relatives of the detainees to block streets and avenues of the capital city.

Anti-government protesters in Armenia have been urged to continue their fight.

Authorities said 46 people including six police and opposition leader Pashinian sought medical help on Monday.

The protest movement started with the action "move" is initiated by the member of the Armenian Parliament and one of the leaders of the opposition Nikol Pashinyan walking through the territory of Armenia.

Police in Yerevan said that the detainees are accused of administrative offences. Opposition groups believe that the reform was carried out in order to Serzh Sargsyan was able to remain in power after his presidential term.

A protester on Monday is being dragged by Armenian police during a clash between law enforcement and protesters
A protester on Monday is being dragged by Armenian police during a clash between law enforcement and protesters

Earlier on Monday, demonstrators marched through the centre of Yerevan and blocked streets, some chanting "Armenia without Serzh" and "Serzh is a liar". "Through civil disobedience he has shown that Armenian citizens aren't indifferent to their state, aren't indifferent to the fact that Serzh Sarkisian is getting ready to occupy the post of prime minister, which will consolidate the culture of authoritarian government". Pashinian, who received injuries to his arms and face, was briefly taken to hospital.

Several hundred people sat or lay down on pavements on Monday, blocking roads leading to the parliament building and universities.

Rallies began on Friday when more than 4,000 people took part.

Ahead of the vote, Sarkisian blamed the opposition for rocking the boat.

A constitutional referendum in 2015 saw Armenia switch to a parliamentary system, reducing the position of president to an essentially ceremonial role.

While presidential votes have typically been contentious affairs in Armenia, Sarkissian's election was initially met with comparative shrugs, and not just because the real power will now shift to the prime minister's office, which Sargsyan is widely expected to slide into.

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