YEREVAN, Armenia | Armenian parliament votes against protest leader as new PM

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Armenia's parliament, the National Assembly, has failed to appoint a new prime minister.

In a troubling sign, Sarkisian's party has not publicly announced its official stance prior to the vote, with a senior lawmaker only saying it will not stand in the way of Pashinyan's candidacy. Absent from the voting was one Republican MPs, Grigor Avalyan (who submitted his resignation from the NA today), and two members of the Prosperous Armenia Party (Tsarukyan faction), Ishkhan Zakaryan and Melik Manukyan. He was the only candidate nominated to replace long-time leader Serzh Sargsyan, who resigned as prime minister because of the protests. Votes were published to the website of the National Assembly. Pashinyan called for his "peaceful, nonviolent disobedience" to continue on Wednesday, asking people in the country of 3 million to block all roads, including access to the worldwide airport in Yerevan.

They also accuse Sarkisian and his dominant Republican Party of widespread corruption and failing to raise living standards. The Republican Party has dominated Armenian politics since 1999.

"Otherwise we will lose a very important thing: it would be impossible to have elections the results of which will be indisputable for both the political forces and the public", Nikol Pashinyan said.

Eduard Sharmazanov, a member of the board of the Republican Party of Armenia and the vice speaker of the parliament, that the party's faction will make its decision only after it hear Pashinyan's program.

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He and his supporters have already vowed to resume mass protests if parliament fails to vote for him.

Between 30,000 and 40,000 opposition supporters spent the day peacefully rallying outside the parliament building to support Pashinian. Pashinyan was nominated as a PM candidate by his party, Yelk ("Way Out") on May 1, and was the sole nominee in the vote held during a special session of parliament. He had been accused of trying to cling to power.

The planned day of protest in the small ex-Soviet state sets up a standoff between Pashinyan's movement, which has mobilised thousands of people to take to the streets, and a ruling elite which is determined to hold on to power and still controls the security apparatus.

Pashinyan supporters waved the Armenian flag and carried balloons in the national colours.

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