New Armenian PM to recognize volatile region

Change of power in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh settlement

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.

But after leading weeks of mass protests against the ruling party, Pashinyan succeeded in dramatically transforming the political landscape in the country and was elected PM by Armenia's parliament on Tuesday.

In the second round of vote in the 105-seat parliament, 59 lawmakers backed Pashinyan's candidacy, with 42 voting against and four absent.

After failing to get enough votes from the National Assembly, Pashinyan called on supporters to block streets, airports, the railway and other public transportation.

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.

The hugely popular Pashinyan had in recent weeks piled pressure on the ruling party through an unprecedented campaign of civil disobedience, leading to the shock resignation of veteran leader Serzh Sarkisian, a week after he shifted to the newly-empowered role of prime minister after serving for 10 years as president.

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Numerous supporters are wearing white clothes, symbolizing their hopes that Pashinian's election will bring a new page in Armenia.

Armenian-American rock star and political activist Serj Tankian joined a pro-opposition rally in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, on May 7, appearing on stage alongside opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan before leading the crowd in song. "Corruption will be eradicated", Pashinyan said. "There will be no privileged people in Armenia, period!" Pashinyan also promised that there would be no persecution in the country for political and economic reasons.

The father-of-four has earned a reputation as a man of the people, wearing his trademark camouflage T-shirt during protests and carrying a massive rucksack which he says contains "everything I need" - including a chocolate bar and a laptop.

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, was among the first to congratulate him.

"This is a real test case for Russia's politics in the former Soviet Republics", said Chatham House's Broers. "And for me, my goal isn't to become prime minister".

Sargsyan resigned the premiership six days after his appointment.

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