Armenians protest ex-leader's move to stay in power

Erika Holt
April 16, 2018

The demonstrators, led by opposition Civil Contract Party member and National Assembly Yelk Faction head Nikol Pashinyan, entered the Armenian State Pedagogical University, in Yerevan.

The pro-Moscow politician is expected to be elected by parliament on Tuesday.

Despite the protests, Serzh Sargsyan was nominated for PM by the ruling Republican Party on Saturday. But Pashinian later returned - sporting a bandaged arm - and vowed to continue the demonstrations. But Serzh. whose party holds a majority in parliament, is to be nominated to be prime minister this weekend.

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Several thousand people blocked traffic Monday morning and camped on the streets. Some chanted "Armenia without Serzh" and "Serzh is a liar". Several hundred people sat or laid down on pavements, blocking roads leading to the parliament building and universities. "Our goal right now is to prevent Serzh Sarkisian from becoming the country's leader for a third time without violence and the use of force", said Pashinian. The opposition is launching acts of protest in order to undermine the election. Some protesters began to build barricades with trash bins and benches.

Armen Sarkisian took over as president from Sargsyan on Monday under a new system in which the president's powers will be weaker and the prime minister will dominate.

Having previously played down suggestions he would run again for political office, Sargsyan announced on 11 April that he would seek the position of Prime Minister, now the most powerful post in the country.

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