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Armenian parliament fails to elect new PM

02 May, 2018 09:13:00

Armenia's parliament failed to elect a new prime minister after a special session, deepening a political crisis following two weeks of protests against the government.

The only candidate for the post of interim prime minister was Nikol Pashinyan, 42, the opposition leader who called for mass demonstrations.

Pashinyan, who led the protests that forced Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan to resign last week, said the Republican Party's decision on Tuesday not to back his candidacy was an "insult to the people".

He was greeted by a jubilant crowd of tens of thousands in central Yerevan, the capital, after losing the vote.

Pashinyan said that starting on Wednesday morning, his supporters would launch a general strike and block roads, railways stations and airports. He said the protest would be peaceful, and called on police to put down their shields and join his movement.  

Legislators voted 45 in favour to 55 against, with the ruling Republican Party rejecting Pashinyan's candidacy during a day-long extraordinary session in parliament.

Syuzanna Petrosyan, from the USC Institute of Armenian Studies, told Al Jazeera the constitution provides a seven-day period to vote again on a new leader, otherwise parliament will be dissolved and new elections must be held.