YEREVAN—With the signature of 41 members of Armenia’s Parliament, Nikol Pashinyan was nominated for the post of prime minister ahead of Tuesday’s election, marking the approval of one-third of lawmakers required.
The Parliament press service confirmed this in a statement issued at around 4 p.m. Thursday.
Pashinyan said he had received firm assurances from the Republican Party of Armenia after he met with the party’s parliamentary bloc leader Vahram Baghdasaryan earlier on Thursday.
“He [Baghdasaryan] reaffirmed that the Republican Party of Armenia faction in the National Assembly will assist the people’s candidate in getting elected prime minister,” Pashinyan said in a Facebook Live post on his page.
On Wednesday, after thwarting Pashinyan’s victory a day before, the Republican Party of Armenia announced, after a meeting with former prime minister Serzh Sarkisian, that it would not introduce its own candidate and it would support any candidate that is supported by one-third of the legislature.
Pashinyan called his candidacy a “fait accomplish.” It is believed that the signatures came from lawmakers in businessman Gagik Tsarukian’s faction, which holds 31 seats, Pashinyan’s own Yelk alliance, which has 9 votes and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation with its seven votes. The aforementioned three groups voted in favor of Pashinyan’s candidacy during Tuesday’s vote.
On Tuesday, in a vote of 56 to 45 the parliament failed to elect Pashinyan due to the Republican Party of Armenia’s refusal to cast their ballots for the opposition leader. Immediately following the vote, at a rally in Republic Square, Pashinyan called for a general strike, which on Wednesday saw tens of thousands of Armenians in Yerevan and around Armenia blocking main roads, highways, railroad stations and even Zvartnots Airport. The peaceful protesters, that include mothers with their baby strollers, students and people from all walks of life, managed to paralyze the city, all the while affirming their commitment to the People’s Movement, which started on April 13.
Tuesday’s vote, which capped off almost nine-hour marathon parliament session, came after some dramatic speeches on the parliament floor, among them a speech by ARF parliamentary faction leader Aghvan Vartanyan who broke with his party and announced that he would vote against Pashinyan. His colleague in parliament and ARF Bureau member Armen Rustamyan was quick to point out that his ARF bloc was caught off guard by Vartanyan’s remarks and proceeded to vote for the opposition leader. Soon thereafter, the ARF Supreme Council of Armenia issued a statement calling for Vartanyan’s immediate resignation from parliament.
Vartanyan complied and handed in his resignation of Thursday. The ARF is yet to announce who will fill Vartanyan’s seat.