Parliament vote falls short for Armenia's protest leader

Denied Power, Armenian Opposition Leader Urges Nationwide Strikes

However, the Armenian opposition leader, a lawmaker with the Yelk faction, is the only candidate for the prime minister, he still lacks six votes to ensure a simple majority in the election.

Speaking with journalists on Monday, Pashinyan said his main project as interim prime minister would be to organise new free and fair parliamentary elections for the post of prime minister.

The National Assembly is meeting in a special session today for the vote.

The Elk or "Exit" opposition alliance formally announced Mr Pashinian's nomination at the start of the session, and the opposition leader himself later took the floor to answer the deputies' question before the vote was to be held. As the ruling party of Armenia refused to nominate a candidate for the post of Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan was the only candidate nominated for the post of Prime Minister.

After several hours of debate, Pashinyan's candidacy was backed only by 45 votes in the 105-seat legislature, short of the 53 he need to become prime minister. The Republican Party has dominated Armenian politics since 1999.

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"From 8:15 am tomorrow all roads should be blocked, I announce a general strike", Pashinyan told tens of thousands of supporters gathered in the capital Yerevan's Republic Square.

Opponents of Sarkisian launched the protests, which brought thousands of Armenians out into the streets, saying the new system would have allowed pro-Moscow Sarkisian to remain the former Soviet republic's leader indefinitely.

On Sunday, RPA faction head Vahram Bagdasaryan said that the party would not impede Pashinyan's election.

Sargsyan had been president for a decade before becoming prime minister last month.

He described his setback as an "insult to the people" and said he was calling a campaign of civil disobedience from early Wednesday that would include blockades of key transport routes. Some voters accuse Sarksyan and his associates of cronyism and corruption, an allegation they deny.

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