Nikol Pashinyan, the acting prime minister of Armenia, has been officially appointed to the post by the country’s president, Armen Sarkissian, after Pashinyan’s party won a snap parliamentary election in June.
Pashinyan, leader of the Civil Contract Party, had called the snap poll in an effort to defuse a political crisis following a disastrous war with neighboring Azerbaijan. In line with Armenian law, snap elections can take place once the prime minister steps down and parliament fails to elect a replacement two times.
Thousands of protesters had called on Pashinyan to step down, blaming him for the country’s military defeat. The conflict ended with Armenia ceding control over the de facto autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan. More than 6,500 people were killed in the war, according to the latest official figures from Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The newly elected parliament convened for the first time on Monday (Aug. 2), and Pashinyan’s party, which won 71 seats in the June 20 election and has the majority of the seats, nominated him to be the prime minister.
Shortly after, Sarkissian signed a decree to that effect. In accordance with the Armenian constitution, a cabinet must be formed within 15 days, after the prime minister is appointed.
Meanwhile, Pashinyan is requesting for an expanded Russian border guard presence, as tensions and violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan continue to fester.
Russian border guards already patrol the southernmost part of the border along Armenia’s Syunik province, but Yerevan is seeking to deploy Russian border guards along its entire border with Azerbaijan.
“This would allow the possibility of conducting delimitation and demarcation [of the two countries’ border] without the risk of armed clashes,” Pashinyan said at a July 29 cabinet meeting.
“The situation along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border is not stabilizing, regardless of the efforts of the Armenian government and the international community,” Pashinyan said. “Azerbaijan is continuing its aggressive rhetoric and actions.”
Pashinyan signed a Russian-brokered ceasefire with Azerbaijan in November that restored Baku’s sovereignty over a swath of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.
Pashinyan was first appointed as the prime minister in 2018 promising economic reforms and ousting the previously dominating oligarchs and monopolies.
With reporting by EurasiaNet, AP, ArmenPress