Demonstrators in Armenia blocked roads to the airport and the capital Yerevan Wednesday after popular opposition leader Nikol Pashinian was prevented from becoming prime minister of the former Soviet state.
Pashinian declared a nationwide civil disobedience crusade Tuesday after the country’s ruling Republican Party blocked his bid to assume leadership, Reuters reports. The days-long standoff has seen protestors block key intersections around the city and surround government agencies and other landmarks.
“We will paralyze the whole city and the whole country,” one supporter, wearing a T-shirt carrying Pashinian’s portrait, told Reuters.
Ten days of mass protests across Armenia late last month forced longtime President Serzh Sarksyan to step down, triggering a surprise power shakeup praised as a “peaceful revolution.”
Sarksyan, who served as Armenia’s president for 10 years, had sought a parliamentary vote to transfer powers from the presidency to the prime minister, a move that many saw as an attempt to subvert term limits and cling to power. But on April 23, he agreed to step down, saying, “Nikol Pashinian was right. I was wrong.”
The country’s ruling elite has been less willing to relinquish power. Pashinian was the only candidate in a snap parliamentary election Tuesday, but the Sarksyan-allied Republican Party still refused to grant him the prime minister’s post, setting up another vote in one week. If Pashinian again fails to obtain the majority’s support, a nationwide election will be called.
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