Armenians protest leader's plan to stay in power as prime minister

Anti-Serzh Sargsyan

The protesters took to the streets after opposition leader Pashinian called on Armenians to stage rallies to prevent Sarkisian's political transition.

Parliament, which is dominated by the ruling party, is to decide on Tuesday whether to install Sarkysan as prime minister.

During the rallies, dozens were injured, including opposition leader Nikol Pashinian - who called the protests - and a number of police officers. The Republican Party's decision-making council unexpectedly met in Tsaghkadzor, a resort town 60 km northeast of the capital, to make the decision. Many Armenians accuse the government of corruption and mismanaging the economy.

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Prior to that, the people entering the university building joined the demonstrators. On Monday morning, April 16, protesters blocked bridges, streets and underground stations to protest Sargsyan's candidacy. Police urged protesters not to violate public order. Later on the police closed the part of Baghramyan Avenue which leads to the Parliament. It is the third term that Sargsyan wants to stay in power. Tensions in Armenia often flare up during presidential and parliamentary elections.

Hundreds of opposition activists have held rallies in recent weeks to protest at Sarksyan's campaign to become prime minister after a constitutional amendment approved in 2015 that transfers governing powers to the premier from the presidency. A new prime minister is expected to be sworn in on 17 April.

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