Armenia Celebrates as Protest Leader Pashinyan Elected as Prime Minister (VIDEO)
© REUTERS / Gleb Garanich
The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) has declared that it will ensure the election of opposition leader Pashinyan as the country's prime minister.

"Representatives of the party will not be members of the government. ... From now on, we are an opposition party," Eduard Sharmazanov, the deputy speaker of the parliament and member of the Republican Party's executive body, said on Tuesday.

Nikol Pashinyan has been elected Armenia's prime minister in the second round of voting in the country's parliament, the National Assembly, with 59 lawmakers giving their ballots for his candidacy and 42 voting against him.

Comment: And yet interestingly, Pashinyan received just 8% of votes in the election:
small-time oligarch Nikol Pashinyan was able to pressure former President and now former Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan to resign from his position despite the latter's insistence just yesterday morning that "the political force, which garnered 7-8% in the election, has no right to talk on behalf of the people" and "blackmail the state".

The parliament finally managed to elect the country's prime minister due to the votes given by the RPA, as the day before the ruling party vowed to secure successful elections.

On May 1, the first vote in the Armenian parliament failed, since the only candidate, opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan, received only 45 votes out of the required 53. Under Armenian law, the parliament has to elect a prime minister a week after the first attempt of the vote, otherwise the legislature will automatically be dissolved.

In the wake of the vote, people took to the streets of Armenia's capital Erevan to hold a rally.

The situation in Armenia has been tense since April 13, when protests led by Pashinyan began in Armenia. The opposition protested against the election of former President Serzh Sargsyan to the post of prime minister.

A few days later, the opposition announced the beginning of a "velvet revolution," but the parliament nevertheless elected Sargsyan as the head of the government. However, less than a week later, he resigned amid continuing protests.

The backlash against his rule was triggered after Sargsyan, who served as Armenia's president from 2008, stepped down when his term ended, but was subsequently nominated for the premiership, which has largely been viewed as an attempt to stay in power as a newly amended constitution transferred some of the presidential powers to the head of the government.