Nikol Pashinyan, the leader of the “velvet revolution” has been appointed prime minister of Armenia.
Armenia’s new parliament held its first session on January 14, during which deputies elected Ararat Mirzoyan as president of parliament. Following an eight hour session, parliament members failed to appoint new deputy presidents. The session will continue on Tuesday, January 15.
Pashinyan Appointed as Prime Minister
Nikol Pashinyan has been appointed Armenia’s prime minister on Monday more than one month after his My Step Alliance won snap parliamentary elections. Pashinyan had resigned from the position last October and became acting prime minister in order to trigger snap parliamentary elections. Per Armenia’s constitution, that was the only way to do it.
President Armen Sarkissian signed the appointment decree at a meeting with Pashinyan on.
During the meeting, Pashinyan stated that he wants “to emphasize that the main political change anticipated in Armenia has already taken place - power has been fully returned to the people and democracy has been established in Armenia.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Pashinyan on the appointment.
“I expect that dialogue and joint constructive efforts between our countries will contribute to strengthening of the Russian-Armenian relations, and promotion of the processes of integration in the Eurasian space,” Putin mentioned.
First Session of New Parliament
The same day, Armenia’s new parliament held its first session. The session lasted for roughly eight hours and is expected to continue the next day.
President Armen Sarkissian opened the session with a speech addressed to the new deputies: "You have the opportunity to bring to life all the ideas that were brought forward during the “velvet revolution”. You need to do the work to meet the expectations of the people."
During the session, the new parliament elected Ararat Mirzoyan as president of the National Assembly (parliament). Mirzoyan is a deputy from the majority My Step Alliance who was serving as deputy prime minister under Pashinyan’s administration.
Mirzoyan was a strong opponent of Armenia’s ex-President Serzh Sargsyan, and was instrumental in the processes of the “velvet revolution.”
During the first session, deputies failed to appoint three deputy presidents of parliament, one of which must be an opposition member. Following a heated debate between the two opposition parties, Prosperous Armenia and Bright Armenia, the session was suspended and will be resumed on Tuesday, January 15.
Composed of 132 members, this new parliament is represented by three political parties following snap parliamentary elections that took place on December 9, 2019.
My Step Alliance led by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan got 70.42 percent of the vote, securing 88 seats. The Prosperous Armenia Party led by businessman Gagik Tsarukyan received 8.26 percent and got 26 seats. The Bright Armenia Party led by Edmon Marukyan received 6.37 percent of the vote, securing 18 seats in parliament.
For the first time since the 1990s, the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia, as well as the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, have been voted out of parliament.
By Ani Paitjan