YEREVAN (A.W.)—Earlier today, Armenia’s National Assembly elected Nikol Pashinyan as the country’s prime minister (PM).
Fifty-nine votes were cast in favor of Pashinyan, while 42 Members of Parliament voted against him. Three parliamentary factions—the Yelk alliance, Tsarukyan faction, and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF)—supported Pashinyan’s candidacy, while the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), which has a majority in Armenia’s National Assembly, announced ahead of the vote that despite the fact that the party is against Pashinyan’s candidacy, 10 plus one of its members would vote for him and allow for him to get elected, in order “stabilize” the situation in the country.
Speaker of the National Assembly Ara Babloyan opened the parliamentary session by recognizing that May 8 was the 26th anniversary of the beginning of the liberation of Shushi. Pashinyan—the sole candidate for PM—was then introduced by fellow Yelk alliance member Lena Nazaryan, who presented Pashinyan’s biography.
Pashinyan then took to the podium and addressed the members of the National Assembly, the tens of thousands of citizens gathered at Yerevan’s Republic Square, and those following along across the country and throughout the Armenian Diaspora. He congratulated the people on the anniversary of Shushi’s liberation and highlighted the fact that the vote was taking place on the same day as the historically significant event.
Throughout his address, Pashinyan promised to implement “very serious reforms” to democratize the country and reaffirmed his pledge to hold fresh elections, which he said will not be fraught with widespread fraud and bribery like elections in the past. He also pledged the his government would conduct a review of the electoral code.
Pashinyan then promised to continue the peaceful negotiations for the resolution of the Artsakh conflict and stressed that it is vital for Artsakh to become an active part of the peace process and join the negotiation “as indicated by a decision of the [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] OSCE Minsk Group leaders.” He then promised to continue Armenia’s efforts in regards to international recognition of the Armenian Genocide and to allow Armenia to become a leader in ensuring that similar crimes are prevented throughout the world.
Pashinyan’s government, according to the new PM, will also work to advance women’s rights in Armenia and work to engage more women in government. He also stressed the importance of the Armenian Diaspora and the significant role it must have in Armenia’s future.
Pashinyan’s election on May 8 came exactly a week after the National Assembly failed to elect him as PM on May 1.
Immediately following his election, Pashinyan took the podium once again and proclaimed, “I will serve the people of Armenia and the Republic of Armenia.” Pashinian did not provide any details regarding the composition of his cabinet. Speaking to reporters on his out of the National Assembly chamber, Pashinyan noted that his ministers will be chosen as a result of discussions and consultations with his colleagues and other political groups. He also indicated that he will be traveling to Artsakh tomorrow, where he will take part in the official celebrations of Victory, Armed Forces, and Shushi Liberation Day.
“My election isn’t the victory here,” Pashinyan told a jubilant crowd gathered at Republic Square following the vote. “The fact that you—the citizens of Armenia—decided who will be your Prime Minister is the real victory today.” In his address at the square, he reiterated his pledge to serve the Armenian people, the Armenian nation, and the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh.