Armenia sets date for new election to defuse crisis

Vahagn Khachatryan RPA should hand power back to people

Sargsyan had been president of Armenia since 2008.

On April 23, Serzh Sargsyan, formerly the president who was elected as the prime minister by the parliament on April 17, resigned amid mass protests that broke out across the country on April 13.

The Republican Party still holds a majority of 58 seats of 105 in Armenia's parliament, the National Assembly.

The Russian embassy in Yerevan said Wednesday that its officials had met with Pashinyan.

Pashinian has called for parliamentary elections to be held soon after the parliament appoints a caretaker government, as well as for a reform of the country's election laws to allow for free and fair elections.

Pashinyan explained that, as before, the movement is ready to continue the negotiation process within the framework of the opposition's proposed agenda.

During yesterday's protest rally at Republic Square, participants confirmed that opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan would stand as the people's candidate for the post of prime minister. Pashinian has said he is prepared to be a candidate, but it is unclear if he will get support. They want a sweeping political reconfiguration before ending their protests, which continued on Thursday.

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They agreed that political forces must show restraint and solve the crisis through dialogue, the Kremlin said.

"If I am not elected prime minister, then Armenia will not have a prime minister at all", said the 42-year-old former newspaper editor.

He has insisted the new premier must be a "people's candidate" and not a member of Sarkisian's party, and said he was himself willing to lead.

"We expect that all parliamentary factions without preconditions will recognize the victory of the people".

Talks between Pashinyan and acting government head Karen Karapetyan to discuss a "peaceful" transfer of power were cancelled this week.

President Armen Sarkisian said Thursday his country turned "a new page" in its history. The fact is a new Armenia where a civil, organized, and civilized movement became an all-Armenian movement that we can be proud of.

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