Ruling party 'will not block' protest leader as Armenian PM

Anti-government supporters have staged two weeks of demonstrations in Armenia

He is so far the only person to put himself forward and, as of Sunday, had received the support of all opposition parties in parliament that hold 47 seats of the 105-seat legislature where the Republicans have a majority.

Pashinyan, a former journalist turned lawmaker, has said parliament must elect him prime minister on May 1.

A spokesman for the HKK said the party decided not to nominate its own candidate in order "to avoid confrontation and destabilization of the country".

According to the Article 149 of the Armenia's Constitution, "In case the Prime Minister submits a resignation or in other cases of the office of the Prime Minister becoming vacant, the factions of the National Assembly shall be entitled to nominate candidates for Prime Minister within a period of seven days after accepting the resignation of the Government".

Three parliamentary factions, namely Dashnaktsutyun, the Tsarukyan bloc and Elk, have already announced their decision to vote for Pashinyan.

Many political observers said it was highly likely that the hugely popular protest leader would be elected prime minister, in a whirlwind development that was unimaginable just two weeks ago in the poor South Caucasus country of 2.9 million people. If that doesn't happen, a a second attempt will be made a week later.

Pashinyan said on Monday he discussed a "peaceful and legal settlement" of the crisis with US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell. The protesters are carrying national flags and chanting slogans.

Observers said Sarkisian's resignation sounded the death knell for the seemingly unshakable rule of the Republican Party which dominated the ex-Soviet republic's politics for over a decade, unchallenged by weak and divided opposition forces.

OSCE observers noted that the previous parliamentary elections, in 2017, were "tainted by credible information about vote-buying, and pressure on civil servants and employees of private companies".

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