Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan calls for general strike

Hannah Rogers
May 2, 2018

In a Facebook Live broadcast after midnight local time, Pashinyan said that he received information that during a late night meeting led by former prime minister Serzh Sarkisian, the Republican Party of Armenia has made a decision to sabotage the election of a prime minister.

The 42-year-old opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan, from the "Way Out" (ELK) Party, who has led the protests, is the only candidate in the inter-parliamentary vote on Tuesday as the country's ruling Republican Party (RPA) has failed to nominate a candidate in its bid to ease tensions.

Therefore, the National Assembly of Armenia will meet to re-vote on may 8th.

Many Canadian Armenians are watching with baited breath as a non-violent grassroots protest movement in Armenia is about to complete the transfer of power from the governing party to the leader of the opposition whose unprecedented campaign of civil disobedience forced the resignation of the country's prime minister and former president. Pashinyan was nominated as a PM candidate by his party, Yelk ("Way Out") on May 1, and was the sole nominee in the vote held during a special session of parliament.

However, as a debate unfolded in parliament to discuss Pashinyan's candidacy for the vacant prime minister's post, it became clear the ruling elite was not willing to surrender power. He subsequently called on his supporters to pour out on the streets and assemble at the capital's Republic Square in protest.

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On Sunday, RPA faction head Vahram Bagdasaryan said that the party would not impede Pashinyan's election. The vote was preceded by a Q&A, followed by a long series of emotional speeches from about 19 members of parliament.

After days of protests, veteran leader Serzh Sarksyan stepped down as prime minister last week.

They also accuse Sarkisian and his dominant Republican Party of widespread corruption and failing to raise living standards.

"They spat on us, but we're not going to tolerate this", bakery owner Samvel Rustamyan, 46, said while jeering and punching his fists in the air.

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