Pashinyan Takes Office
Has Phone Conversation with Putin; Congratulatory Messages Begin Pouring in from Foreign Leaders including the US.
“Today’s victory is not my being elected prime minister. The victory is the fact that YOU have decided who should become prime minister.” With these words Armenia’s newly-elected prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, greeted tens of thousands of jubilant Armenians, overwhelmingly young people, at a rally on Republic Square after his election by parliament earlier Tuesday.
Pashinyan, who was elected by a vote of 59 to 42, celebrated his victory with very people he had mobilized and who supported him in an almost month-long popular movement, which saw the toppling of Serzh Sarkisian’s government and became a revolution marked by laughter, dancing and collective determination for change in Armenia.
He quickly left the celebration to assume his responsibilities as prime minister, with his first stop being a meeting with President Armen Sarkissian, who congratulated Pashinyan on his victory and urged him to select a government and propose his plan as soon as possible.
Sarkissian later signed a decree declaring Pashinyan as prime minister, a custom reserved for the president under Armenia’s new Constitution, the provisions of which became the basis for a peaceful transition of power in Armenia.
Pashinyan also received relevant briefings from the National Security Agency, the foreign security detail, as well as economic sectors to bring him up to date and inform him of the realities that will surely become part of his government plan.’
Before holding meeting, Pashinyan managed to squeeze a Facebook Live tour of his new residence, 26 Bagramyan Street, occupied until now by Serzh Sarkisian. Throughout the popular movement, Pashinyan used the Facebook Live social media platform to communicate with supporters and disseminate action items for protesters.
Congratulatory messages from world leaders from near and far started pouring in almost immediately.
The State Department issued a statement congratulation Pashinyan, saying: “The United States congratulates Nikol Pashinyan as the new Prime Minister of Armenia. We look forward to working closely with the new government and with the people of Armenia on the many areas of shared interest between our countries, including increasing trade, working in support of democracy and rule of law, and safeguarding regional and global security.”
Russian President Valdimir Putin quickly congratulated Pashinyan. Also offering congratulations was Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, whose message was reciprocated by Pashinyan since Medvedev had himself, assume the premiership in Russia on Tuesday.
“I expect that your work as the head of government will contribute to further strengthening the friendly, allied relations between our countries, our partnership as part of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization,” Putin told Pashinyan in a message publicized by the Kremlin.
Later Tuesday, Prime Minister Pashiyan and Putin had a telephone conversation. According to a statement posted on the government website, the two leaders have expressed readiness “to continue to work together for the future advancement of Russia-Armenia strategic and collective partnerships as well as to further collaborate of integration projects.” The two leaders have agreed to further discuss these issues during a May 14 summit of Eurasian heads of state to be held in Sochi, Russia.
Pashinyan also congratulated Putin on his fourth inauguration and wished the Russian leader and Russians the best on Victory Day.
Among other foreign leaders to congratulate Pashinyan were Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, as well as Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy who together with Johannes Hahn, the EU’s Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, expressed their readiness to work with Pashinyan.
On the domestic front, Acting Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan resigned his position and congratulated Pashinyan as did Acting Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan.
Pashinyan has 15 days to form a government and present his plan to parliament for approval. In the event that lawmakers reject his plan, the National Assembly will be tasked with organizing and calling snap parliamentary elections.
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