Armenia but will nonetheless help him become prime minister in order to restore "political stability" in the country. Deputies from the ruling party voted for the opposition leader of street protests.

Pashinian has threatened to stage another general strike if the HHK fails to vote for his candidacy on May 8. The protests focused on frustration with widespread poverty and corruption in the country and on former President Serzh Sargsyan's becoming prime minister, which was seen as a maneuver to remain the country's leader indefinitely.

Though this vote lacked the drama of the previous week's - when the Republicans did not tip their hand about whether or not they would vote for Pashinyan - the ruling party nevertheless signaled that it did not intend to give up the fight.


But governance changes that in tandem bolstered the prime minister's office led to accusations that Mr Sargsyan had manipulated the constitution to cling to power.

At the tense, eight-hour session the week before, Republicans peppered Pashinyan with questions about his commitment to Armenia's ties with Russian Federation, the country's traditional family values, and economic growth.

Thomas de Waal, a specialist on the region with Carnegie Europe, a think tank, said with the Armenian uprising, both Yerevan and Moscow had learned a new script. They included 13 lawmakers representing Sarkisian's Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). "There will be no privileged people in Armenia, period!" "Corruption will be eliminated from Armenia", he said.


Pashinian went into hiding following the deadly suppression on March 1-2, 2008 of post-election protests in Yerevan.

Armenia's new prime minister has suggested that he will push for recognition of the sovereignty of the Nagorno-Karabakh region - one of Armenia's most hard and volatile problems. He was released from jail in 2011 under a prisoner amnesty scheme and elected to parliament the next year.

"The spring of liberation has come to Armenia", one Pashinyan supporter, 56-year-old Sona Paremuzyan, told AFP in Yerevan. He was nominated y the ruling Republican Party.


After the plebiscite, thousands of opposition supporters rallied against alleged mass violations at polling stations.

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