Armenia's parliament has elected backbencher and protest leader Nikol Pashinyan as the country's new prime minister, capping his historic, peaceful rebellion and sending his supporters into the streets again to celebrate. Pashinyan had lost the original vote on May 1 due to initial opposition from the dominant Republican Party. There will be no people enjoying privileges in Armenia.
The election of Pashinyan, a former newspaper editor who spent time in prison for fomenting unrest, marks a rupture with the cadre of rulers who have run Armenia since the late 1990s. Many Armenians regarded the job swap as a brazen attempt to maintain his grip on power.
Stung by the protests, Sargsyan stepped down. 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. On both occasions, Pashinyan was the only candidate.
Events in the small south Caucuses state have been closely watched in Moscow, an ally of Armenia. "Tomorrow.will be the day of the victory of Armenian citizens".
Within an hour of the vote, Pashinyan traveled to Republic Square in central Yerevan to greet his supporters, who waved Armenian flags and balloons as a rock band performed live music. "We started the velvet revolution without weapons and blood", she told CNN. "Corruption will be eradicated", Pashinyan said.
Pashinian, in a speech to parliament before his election Tuesday, said his revolution will lead to the "recognition of realizing the rights of Karabakh to self-determination". Others wore camouflage T-shirts or caps mimicking Pashinyan's signature style (though he himself was in a dark suit). That transfer appeared to make sure Pashinian can be chosen Tuesday.
Under a 2015 referendum marred by irregularities, Armenia shifted powers from the presidency to parliament. "And for me, my goal isn't to become prime minister". Russian Federation has a military base in Armenia but has not intervened in events there. "I expect that your work as the head of government will contribute to further strengthening the friendly, allied relations between our countries", he said.
Crowds of villagers poured onto the streets to greet Pashinyan, offering him fresh bread and berries, as he travelled to rallies across the country.
How did Armenia get here?
Yet faced with weeks of mass protests, Sargsyan left the premiership on April 23, six days after his election. Karen Karapetyan also asked to consider as terminated the fulfillment of his duties of Acting Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.
According to Broers, discontent with Serzh Sargsyan had been brewing for years.
Armenia's peaceful uprising against single-party rule is seen as unprecedented in the former Soviet Union.