Armenia sets date for polls to defuse crisis | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 27, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 27, 2018

Armenia sets date for polls to defuse crisis

Armenia's parliament yesterday set May 1 as the date to elect a prime minister in a bid to defuse rapidly escalating tensions as top officials held talks in Moscow.

An end to a deepening political crisis in Armenia was nowhere in sight, with opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan lacking enough votes to get elected and protesters taking to the streets for a fresh day of rallies.

Russia - which has a military base in Armenia -- has pledged it would not intervene but its top officials welcomed counterparts from the South Caucasus nation for talks yesterday.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with his Armenian counterpart Eduard Nalbandyan while Kremlin officials also held talks with the country's acting Vice Premier Armen Gevorkyan.

Eduard Sharmazanov, spokesman for the Republican Party which still has a majority in parliament, said it was "realistic" that a new prime minister would already be elected on May 1.

Armenia is then expected to hold new parliamentary elections.

The country's leader Serzh Sarkisian stood down Monday from his new post of prime minister after days of largely peaceful protests in the impoverished country of 2.9 million people.

The opposition had accused 63-year-old Sarkisian of wanting to extend his grip on power after serving a decade as president, saying he failed to tackle a litany of problems including poverty and corruption.

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