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Armenia opposition stages show of force ahead of vote

Armenia opposition stages show of force ahead of vote

The current crisis was triggered by Serzh Sarkisian's shift earlier this month to the newly powerful post of prime minister after a decade as president - a move critics charged was a blatant bid to cling to power when he reached the limit of two straight presidential terms.

"It was noted that the crisis in Armenia must be resolved within the legal framework, in line with the existing constitution and on the basis of the results of the legitimate parliamentary elections held in April 2017".

Supporters of Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan attend a rally in the town of Ijevan, Armenia April 28, 2018. The former prime minister Karen Karapetian, who was appointed to the post in an acting capacity last week, is from Sargsyan's Republic party. The demonstrators oppose the ruling Republican party.

Armenia's ruling party will not put forward any candidate to become the country's next prime minister to avoid stoking tensions, its spokesman, Eduard Sharmazanov, told reporters on Saturday. "The country is going towards complete destruction if we keep going this way". Another seven seats belong to the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) faction, which on April 26 said it was withdrawing form its coalition with HHK.

Amid public anger at widespread poverty and official corruption, the opposition is demanding that Karapetyan's ruling Republican party cede power to Pashinyan before new parliamentary elections are held.

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He also said he was ready to meet with all the ruling party's lawmakers "simultaneously".

"Everything will be OK". Tsarukyan has said he will vote for Pashinian who will now stand unopposed. Observers fear the turmoil can destabilise the Moscow-allied nation. They are chanting "Victory", "Karapetyan resigned" and "Nicola in the premiere". Moscow has urged compromise and Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week spoke by phone with the interim head of government, stressing the importance of the upcoming election.

Russian border guards patrol Armenia's border with Turkey and Iran.

The United States continues to monitor closely the situation in Armenia, said State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert in a statement, late on Saturday.

Pashinian met with several members of Russia's Duma on April 29 and reassured them that Armenia will remain a close ally and partner.


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