After weeks of wild protests, Armenia elects new PM

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Armenia's governing Republican Party will provide the additional votes needed to elect a prime minister during a parliamentary vote on Tuesday, a Republican Party lawmaker told Reuters. He also has a long history of political activism.

The National Assembly of Armenia elected the leader of the Armenian protest movement, 42-year-old Nikol Pashinyan as the new Prime Minister of the country, which, according to the new constitution, is now the most influential position in Armenia.

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. "However, if it turns out that they are ineffective, they will be discontinued", he said.

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Pashinyan began the unexpectedly successful campaign in Armenia second largest city of Gyumri on March 31. He returned to Yerevan on foot on April 13 after walking more than 200 kilometers through the country's northern and central regions in an effort to drum up popular support for his cause.

Two other factions in addition to Pashinyan's Yelk have endorsed the opposition leader's candidacy - the ARF and the Tsarukyan.

In a concession last week, the Republicans agreed to support any prime minister candidate nominated by a third of the parliament members, paving the way for Pashinian's election. While Armenian leaders in the past have sought to placate Moscow by recognizing the enclave as an independent state, Pashinyan wants it to be part of Armenia.

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In May 2011, as a result of dialogue between the political opposition lead by Ter-Petrosian and the authorities of Armenia, Pashinyan was released from prison and in 2012 was elected as an MP, presented by the political alliance "Armenian National Congress" lead by Ter-Petrosian.

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. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has praised the Armenian protest movement. Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Hikmet Hajiyev said.

OSCE observers noted that the previous parliamentary elections, in 2017, were "tainted by credible information about vote-buying, and pressure on civil servants and employees of private companies".

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