Armenia turns to Moscow as parliament sets date for new vote

Vahagn Khachatryan RPA should hand power back to people

Vahagn Khachatryan RPA should hand power back to people

The country's parliament is expected to hold a special session on May 1 to debate and possibly elect a new leader, a statement published on the parliament's website on Thursday said.

Acting prime minister Karen Karapetyan who has said he would be ready to declare a state of emergency if needed, is now under pressure to deliver on promised elections.

The opposition has made strategic decisions concerning the "second round of the revolution", opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan has said.

However, despite Sarkisian's resignation and the departure of the junior partner from the HKK's governing coalition on April 25, the HKK still controls a majority with 58 lawmakers in the 105-seat parliament. "The opposition movement should do its best to have this process achieve real changes", Pahsinyan said in a video message.

Under Armenia's constitution, within seven days after the premier's resignation the parliamentary factions have the right to nominate candidates for the prime minister, and after that the elections of the head of cabinet are held by an open vote.

"We want justice, and we want Nikol Pashinyan to be the prime minister", Lili Arakilyan, a young protester, said.

The ruling Republican Party has given consent to an early parliamentary election but it dismisses the demands to make the opposition forces' leader the next prime minister as unconstitutional ones.

Sargsyan had been president of Armenia since 2008.

Serzh Sargsyan who was the leader of the RPA recently stepped down from the post of Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, two key officials in the HKK - acting Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and acting Deputy Prime Minister Armen Gevorgian - were meeting with officials in Moscow to discuss the implications of the political crisis in Yerevan.

Analyst Stepan Safaryan said that, while the core of the Republican Party has no intention of backing down, he did not rule out that some of the party's lawmakers would vote for Pashinyan.

"We will not negotiate with the Republican Party of Armenia behind closed doors, as we declare that the power belongs to the people, and we must be accountable to it for every step we take", he stressed.

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