Armenian Revolutionary Federation Party Withdraws From the Ruling Coalition

Armenian Revolutionary Federation Party Withdraws From the Ruling Coalition

Cheryl Sanders
April 26, 2018

It announced its decision after police took up positions in the centre of the Armenian capital as tens of thousands of people protested against the ruling elite and the acting prime minister suggested new parliamentary elections to defuse the political crisis.

Pashinyan sported his trademark khaki-coloured T-shirt and clutched a megaphone as protesters chanted "Nikol for prime minister" and "We are the masters of our country".

The Yelk opposition bloc said Wednesday it would nominate Pashinyan for prime minister.

Many raised their hands in the air - a sign that the protest movement led by opposition lawmaker Nikol Pashinyan is peaceful - and robed priests joined the rallies in an apparent attempt to prevent possible clashes. He said he specifically demanded that the talks involve not only Karapetian but also parliament speaker Ara Babloyan and the parliamentary leader of the ruling Republican Party (HHK), Vahram Baghdasarian. A candidate would need 53 votes to get elected. They agreed that political forces must show restraint and solve the crisis through dialogue, the Kremlin said.

After Sargsyan's resignation, his post is temporarily occupied by his deputy Karen Karapetyan, former prime minister and former senior executive of Russian gas giant Gazprom.

Last Saturday, after a meeting between Sargsian and Pashinian that was televised, during which Pashinian stood firm saying: "The only thing there is to negotiate is your resignation", the Prime Minister abruptly withdrew at the end of the meeting.

Karapetyan did not specify when an election might be held, but said the economy of the landlocked country of 3 million people would suffer if the crisis continued.

As Armenia is a key Russian ally in the Caucasus, one that has been thoroughly penetrated by it, all eyes were on Russia and its President Vladimir Putin since the outbreak of the protests.

Pashinyan said on Wednesday that protesters had blocked a customs post at the border with neighbouring Georgia. "It will elevate the reputation of Armenia and the Armenian people in the world, if we will be able to find correct and measured solutions".

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