Armenia's ex-president elected prime minister amid protests

Armenia's ex-president elected prime minister amid protests

Opposition supporters walk along a street during a rally in central Yerevan on April 16, 2018.

Armen Sarkissian, new president with largely ceremonial roles, was sworn in on April 9, and now with Karen Karapetyan's caretaker government running the country, the National Assembly of Armenia will move to elect a new prime minister on Tuesday.

The opposition says a new parliamentary system of government will allow Sargsyan, 63, to maintain his grip on power.

Opposition activists also held rallies in recent weeks to protest Sarksyan's campaign to become prime minister and thousands blocked the centre of the capital Yerevan.

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Parliament is expected to elect him on Tuesday.

When Armenian lawmaker Nikol Pashinian received a police notice warning that the protests he was leading were unlawful, few were surprised when he ripped it up on the spot without even bothering to read it.

Anti-government protesters continue to block several main roads in the capital, using benches and rubbish bins to stop the traffic.

Police today temporarily closed the doors of the Municipality, and minor scuffle broke out between the protesters and cops. On Friday, groups of protesters forced their way into the Yerevan State University and the building of Armenia's Public Radio on Saturday.

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"Such actions can lead to crimes against the citizens' life, health and property", police said in a statement.

A shrewd former military officer, Sargsyan has been in charge of the landlocked South Caucasus nation of 2.9 million since winning a presidential vote in 2008. It was the first presidential election since a 2015 constitutional referendum that was created to shift power in Armenia from the presidency to parliament and, mainly, the prime minister.

The two men are not related. Serzh Sargsyan, who held the office for almost a decade, had promised he wouldn't seek the key job of prime minister.

The election of Mr Sargsyan to the presidency in 2008 was met with demonstrations, with protesters alleging vote rigging.

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