Amid Continued Protests, Serzh Sarkisian Becomes Prime Minister

Serzh Sarkisian addresses the parliament after being elected as Armenia's Prime Minister
Serzh Sarkisian addresses the parliament after being elected as Armenia's Prime Minister

Serzh Sarkisian addresses the parliament after being elected as Armenia’s Prime Minister

YEREVAN—As thousands continued protests in the streets of Yerevan on Tuesday for the fifth consecutive days, Armenia’s National Assembly, by a vote of 76 to 17, elected Armenia’s former president, Serzh Sarkisian, as prime minister—the head of the government under Armenia’s reformed constitution that made it a parliamentary government.

The anti-Serzh Sarkisian protests continued for a fifth consecutive day in Yerevan

The anti-Serzh Sarkisian protests continued for a fifth consecutive day in Yerevan

The protesters that have been staging demonstrations since Friday opposing Sarkisian’s new role as the country’s prime minister, gathered in the streets of Yerevan, with their leader, parliament member Nikol Pashinyan from the Yelk faction, calling for a “velvet revolution.”

Thousands gather at Republic Square in Yerevan on Tuesday evening to protest the election of Serzh Sarksian as prime minister

Thousands gather at Republic Square in Yerevan on Tuesday evening to protest the election of Serzh Sarksian as prime minister

Inside the parliament building, which was fortified under heavy security, lawmakers met and cast their ballots to elect Sarkisian, who was nominated Saturday by his ruling Republican Party of Armenia Leadership council and whose nomination was endorsed by the government’s coalition partner, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

In his acceptance speech, Sarkisian thanked his fellow party members and the ARF, saying, “We as a political coalition have assumed a serious responsibility, understand its scales and are ready to move on the path of ensuring the Fatherland’s development and providing our people with better living conditions through a coordinated consistent work.”

Sarkisian also thanked the Tsarukyan alliance, whose leader, businessman Gagik Tsarukyan, did not attend the session and a dozen of its member voted against his candidacy. He also thanked the Yelk alliance, whose members rejected Sarkisian’s premiership.

Some 80 protesters, among them the woman pictured, were arrested on Tuesday

Some 80 protesters, among them the woman pictured, were arrested on Tuesday

In his remarks, Sarkisian Sarkisian denounced the ongoing protests and called into question their effectiveness, downplaying the size and breadth of the crowd. He paused to urge the Yelk lawmakers to call on Pashinian to return “from the street to the parliament. It will be your greatest achievement, because I have never been alone in our political power. We have seen a lot of blood, but even I have never had thirst for our enemy’s blood.”

Earlier in the day, Armenian police who had clashed on Monday with protesters, sending some 40 people to the hospital, issued a warning that they were mandated by law to disperse the protests. Those warnings were ignored and the protesters continued to join the demonstrations, which culminated in a massive rally at Republic Square in downtown Yerevan. On Tuesday, police arrested some 80 demonstrators, among them young activists and students.

The demonstrators vowed to continue their protests for a what they call a democratic Armenia in the coming days. For now, however, the business of Armenia government goes on with Sarkisian at the helm.

Immediately after the vote, President Armen Sarkissian appointed Sarkisian as prime minister, per constitutional provisions, and later the two met.

In addressing the protests in Yerevan, President Sarkissian said violence should be ruled out.

“The right to freedom of speech and expression is one of the most important principles of democracy. The opinion of every citizen of the Republic of Armenia is important for the country,” said President Sarkissian. “At the same time, violence, illegal actions and restriction of the rights of others must be ruled out during free expression of will.”

“The security of our country and national solidarity should be a primary and undisputed necessity for all of us,” added the president.

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16 Comments

  1. Armen V said:

    It is pathetic to see the ARF just standing by and waiting for Serge to throw them a bone(cabinet position.) Shame on the ARF.

  2. State of Emergency said:

    As it is, the ARF is persona non grata among Soviet indoctrinated Armenians, whether inside or outside of Armenia. By aligning with the Republican party they’re only setting themselves up for further accusations of treason. They must carve their own sovereign political edict to be taken seriously among the large Sovietized populace.

  3. Sarkis Ghazarian said:

    How can the ARF justify its support to have Serge Sarkisian be elected by the Parliament to be the Prime Minister after he has served two terms as President of Armenian while stating that he would not run for the PM position during the discussion on the pros/cons for the approval of the new Constitution? Is having a couple ministerial positions more important than the needs of the people of Armenia for a better life and country?
    Mr Sarkisian has led Armenia during a period of time of increased corruption& poverty along with thousands of Armenians moving out of the country for lack of hope in the future for their families of a better life.
    It is time for Armenia to be led by individuals who have the interest of the residents of Armenia in their decision making process instead of their own personal self interests.
    The ARF should be looking to find these types of leaders to support instead of people like Serge Sarkisian to be the leaders of the government of Armenian

  4. Art said:

    It’s time for the diaspora to stand united and express unequivocally their utter discontent against the pseudo democratic government in Armenia, which recently elected the autocratic Sarkisian as prime minister of Armenia for seven years. As I observe the recent unfoldings in Armenia, one thing that resonates in my mind are the words of Mr. Partamian, aka Pari Luys, the diasporan Armenians today are at the doldrums of their existence. He is 100% correct. We cannot as a group unite and express outrage toward the government of Armenia for instituting policies that have contributed to the flight of human capital out of Armenia, undermining the sovereignty of the nation by engaging in myopic international and domestic policies, which has resulted in the loss of territory and lives, greater dependence on Mother Russia, and rampant corruption, to name a few. Baykar, Baykar, Minchev Verch! We shouldn’t be yelling out this slogan on just April 24. It should be part of every diasporan Armenians’ vocabulary every day until the current regime is abolished.

      • Art said:

        For starters we should boycott all things Armenian that can be linked or traced to Sarkisian and/or his cronies, including all imported goods from Armenia, USArmenia, SHANT, and a host of other television broadcasters, all artists from Armenia that visit the diaspora, and donations sent to Armenia via annual fundraising events sponsored by pro-Sarkisian organizations, etc. If enough pressure is exerted on the bottom line of these thugs, they would perhaps re-consider their actions and motives.

  5. Vasken said:

    For those who speak against ARF, I say how many times in hundred years You Were Wrong Side?…Now ARF WAY or NO WAY! ARF policy is not one man policy, this is politic, and ARF playing along very well- it’s long term policy, and stop blaming ARF!

    • State of Emergency said:

      Provide some tangible proof, not some pie in the sky claim.

    • Armen V said:

      ARF was on the wrong side of the constitutional reform referendum, and they are on the wrong side the Serge re-election. They have to change course or they will go down in history as traitors to the Armenian nation. Serge has not done anything in the past ten years to deserve another ten years.

    • Raffi said:

      I agree 100%, I believe some of these people have inferiority complex, they want blood and destruction, they do not see the constructive job that ARF is doing for the sake of all Armenians, they are in cooperation instead of confrontation.

  6. David Karamian said:

    It’s disgusting! I’ve had a lot of respect for Serzh and was hoping he would do the right thing and step aside for new leadership. I lost all respect for him and the so called new Armenian form of government. Serzh is no different than Aliyev and Erdogan!

  7. Hamasdegh said:

    Knowing the mentality of ex-soviet politicians, and the precedent we have seen in Russia with Medvedev and Putin switching jobs with a pharaonic precision, it was easy to foresee the same happening in Armenia too. Who is buying insurance here? Russia or the Armenian mafiosi organizations that have benefitted so far from the political set-up they have created? For ARF to be part of these shenanigans and “zezveli” comedy is a pill hard to swallow but I am sure they were brought in to give the appearance of (questionable) legitimacy to an arrangement that has been on the slow cooker from the date Serge Sarkissian was elected as President and were given a piece of the pie on two occasions by including their ministers in the government. We have been quick in history to blame foreigners for our misery, forgetting that in most cases we were the cause …. of what happened.I am truly disappointed to see how a cherished independence and so-called democratic system is being corrupted from within.

  8. Markaryan s. said:

    Arf had signed agreement of responsibility with Serjig Sarkisyan . With that he took responsibility for what is happening (corruption, lost of 800acer,+100 Young soldier’s death, over 370000 living the motherland, poisoning the environment with mining AMLOUSAR .etc.And now votiy for Sergik,Ani on how does not want responsibility should resin from the agreement and fitted against it for the fatherland, Ether you are with Serjig or with the people off Armenia.

  9. Hamo Yedgarian said:

    Time to reflect an unite as one, Do the right thing for our little precious Armenian and all Armenians that live and contribute to the nation of Grate Armenian.

  10. Ara said:

    arf without capital,that’s how low they went, there actions is no different than aiding and abetting with criminal government.

  11. joe said:

    Sarkisian needs to go. Hes not king. There are other qualified people that can take his place. No one needs the same leader for decades, This leads to NOTHING GOOD. Hes a thief and an enemy of the democracy.

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