Armenian protest leader calls for civil disobedience after being denied PM's job

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Protest leader Nikol Pashinyan, the sole candidate in Armenia's election for prime minister, called for fresh protests after failing to secure enough votes from parliament on Tuesday to win the post.

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.

Pashinian had earlier warned that the country would be plunged into a political crisis if the ruling party failed to support his candidacy.

While Pashinyan had declared Monday as a "Day of Silence" ahead of Tuesday's vote, the political developments were anything but silent.

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Many Canadian Armenians are watching with baited breath as a non-violent grassroots protest movement in Armenia is about to complete the transfer of power from the governing party to the leader of the opposition whose unprecedented campaign of civil disobedience forced the resignation of the country's prime minister and former president.

In response to a question from a lawmaker from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) Arman Saghatelyan on the Karabakh settlement process, Pashinyan said negotiations on Karabakh are held only for the sake of negotiations and are of a formal nature.

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

On April 23, Serzh Sargsyan, who was appointed by the Armenian parliament as prime minister amid widespread disaffection for him, resigned under the pressure of mass protests against his premiership.

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"We will block the streets, the airports, the metro, the railway, everything that can be blocked", Pashinyan told his cheering supporters on Yerevan's Republic Square.

"It showed once again that they don't care about us, about the ordinary people", said Gurgen, a 61-year-old unemployed man who was among the crowd.

Following days of frenetic negotiations, the country's two major parties, including the Prosperous Armenia - which has 31 seats in the parliament - announced on Saturday that they would back Pashinyan.

Some Armenians saw Sarksyan's bid for the prime minister's job as a cynical ploy to extend his grip on power. "A total strike is announced", Pashinyan said in comments carried by the Interfax news agency. He later changed his mind inviting the supporters to gather on Republic Square at 11 a.m. local time (10 a.m. Moscow Time).

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