Nikol Pashinian Elected Prime Minister of Armenian

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday swiftly congratulated Pashinyan on becoming Armenia's prime minister and said he expects Russian-Armenian ties to grow even closer. Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Hikmet Hajiyev said.

The Republican Party, which has a majority of parliament seats, later underlined the difficulty by declaring it's now in opposition. "That's it. Full stop", the newly elected prime minister said, reaffirming support for human rights protections and an end to corruption. The protests were initially limited to opposing former president Serzh Sargsyan's appointment as prime minister, but their demands later expanded to include a new government from outside the ruling Republican Party, and new elections to be held under a new electoral code.

However, the HHK-dominated parliament quickly appointed him as prime minister, a switch made possible by constitutional changes that weakened the presidency while bolstering the prime minister's powers.

Pashinyan spearheaded weeks of protests that eventually prompted the former prime minister, Serzh Sargsyan, to step down. After 30 years of fighting with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a region both countries claim, he has said he will make the enclave part of Armenia.

Supporters say Mr Pashinyan, who was also imprisoned after opposition rallies in 2008 turned deadly, is among history's great peaceful revolutionaries.

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Nikol Pashinian, who was named the new prime minister by parliament on Tuesday, has repeatedly said that he would not seek to change Armenia's cooperation with Russian Federation. They included 13 lawmakers representing Sarkisian's Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). "My best wishes and good luck to you", the president said.

A central square in the capital Yerevan, where Pashinyan's supporters gathered to watch the voting on huge television screens, erupted into joy when the result was shown.

"I am very happy because this is a movement for the people, Armenians have come together and learned to love one another", said Anna Maritosyan, a social worker who was among the celebrants.

Yet faced with weeks of mass protests, Sargsyan left the premiership on April 23, six days after his election.

Numerous supporters are wearing white clothes, symbolizing their hopes that Pashinian's election will bring a new page in Armenia.

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