Armenian Protest Leader Calls Rally Ahead Of May 8 Vote

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Today, Armenia's parliament will hold a second vote to elect a new prime minister.

Standing beside Mr Pashinyan the night before the vote, Mr Tankian - the lead singer of American-Armenian heavy metal band System of a Down - praised the protesters in Armenian before leading them in a traditional song.

The political crisis in Armenia deteriorated after the appointment of former President Serzh Sargsyan, Prime Minister on the background of changes in form of government to a parliamentary Republic.

The voting results announced by the speaker of parliament Ara Babloyna were received with applause by members of Yelk, ARF-Dashnaktsutyun and Tsarukyan Alliance fractions. Despite the protests, the Armenian Parliament elected Sargsyan head of the Cabinet on the same day. "You managed to turn your anger and despair into a positive movement", he told the crowd. In one of his video message Tankian promised to soon visit Armenia.

On 1 May, a parliament dominated by the ruling Republican party rejected Mr Pashinyan as prime minister, even though he was the only candidate. According to the law, in a week the Parliament will try to re-elect a prime minister. If this happens, Pashinyan will focus his efforts on electoral reform that could be followed by a snap election; this would likely benefit the leader's Way Out Alliance, which now only holds nine seats in the 105-member parliament. "There will be no monopolies in our economy if I am elected".

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The court also directed the Pathankot district court to conduct fast-track hearings, without any adjournments. The Supreme Court will monitor the case and in case a fresh petition for CBI probe is filed it will be heard.

The Republican Party, which has a majority of the seats in the chamber, said last week that it would support any candidate nominated by a third of the deputies and that it would not put forth its own candidate. "The page of political and economic persecution in Armenia is closed, and our task now is to create an atmosphere of tolerance", Pashinyan said.

"I'll meet him at the airport and accompany him to the Republic square".

Pashinian three days ago pledged that he would call snap elections once in office, but only when he was "convinced they would be legitimate and transparent". Sargsyan reneged on his promise not to seek the newly empowered PM's seat, sparking mass demonstrations in capital Yerevan.

He also told RFE/RL that he would not accept the presence of oligarchs in his government if elected prime minister on May 8.

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