President formally appoints elected PM

Armenian Protest Leader Gets Second Chance At Prime Minister In Parliamentary Vote

Armenian President Armen Sarkisyan has signed a decree formally appointing Nikol Pashinyan as prime minister of the country, according to the presidential press service.

In the second round of vote in the 105-seat parliament, 59 lawmakers backed Pashinyan's candidacy, with 42 voting against and four absent.

After failing to get enough votes from the National Assembly, Pashinyan called on supporters to block streets, airports, the railway and other public transportation. The opposition protested against the election of former President Serzh Sargsyan to the post of prime minister.

Parliament met again on Tuesday to choose a leader, and this time Mr. Pashinyan prevailed.

In the event of the parliament's rejection of the action plan, the elected PM resigns and new elections of PM take place.

Before his resignation, Sargsyan was appointed prime minister last month after serving 10 years as the country's president.

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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.

Thomas de Waal, a specialist on the region with Carnegie Europe, a think tank, said with the Armenian uprising, both Yerevan and Moscow had learned a new script. "There will be no privileged people in Armenia, period!"

Opponents from the ruling Republican Party have accused Pashinyan - who says he wants good relations with both Russian Federation and the West - of being unpredictable and lacking a clear programme and ideology.

He went into hiding but surrendered in 2009. "However, if it turns out that they are ineffective, they will be discontinued", he said. He said his ministers will be chosen "as a result of discussions" with his allies and other political groups. He was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2010 but was released the following year under an amnesty. His deputy, Karen Karapetyan, was named acting prime minister.

With his fiery rhetoric and penchant for asking awkward questions, Pashinyan quickly became a thorn in the side of the ruling party.

Tankian credited the crowds that have taken to the streets repeatedly to support Pashinian since mid-April for achieving a major, peaceful change of government in the small Caucasus country.

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