YEREVAN, Armenia | The Latest: Putin congratulates new Armenian PM

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The parliament on Tuesday, May 8 elected Pashinyan as the country's new prime minister after weeks of political standoff, a civil campaign against the ruling authorities and massive protests in Yerevan and across the country. Before April, the ruling Republican Party's stranglehold on Armenian politics had appeared intact, with Mr Sargsyan newly installed as prime minister after term limits forced him to step down as president after 10 years.

Addressing the parliament before the vote, Pashinian pledged to implement "very serious reforms" that would democratize Armenia, strengthen the rule of law and radically improve the domestic business environmental.

The protests focused on former President Serzh Sargsyan, who tried to hold onto power by switching from president to prime minister, a move that opponents saw as allowing him to remain the country's leader indefinitely. He entered parliament in 2016 as a member of a coalition of opposition parties.

His creativity was visible during a parliamentary election campaign previous year, when he went into courtyards, clambered onto the roofs of garages and stood on benches to deliver speeches.

After Sarkisian's resignation last month following ten days of peaceful protests, the opposition lawmaker said only he could be the next prime minister.

"We do not consider it expedient to cooperate with the new government; it would be hypocritical to consider the issue of our participation in the new government", said Armen Ashotyan, a Republican faction leader. Pashinyan claims he's not planning to alter Armenia's current foreign policy course, including the country's membership in Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union or keeping Russian military bases on Armenia's territory.

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Armenia is a country of about three million people nestled in mountains between Iran, Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan. He told the police repeatedly that they were friends and fellow Armenians.

"By the end of the parliamentary session Armenia will have a prime minister".

"On the other hand, as the protest movement has shown, he can be flexible", he said.

He has publicly fallen out with other opposition leaders such as the former president Levon Ter-Petrosyan.

Pashinian went into hiding following the deadly suppression on March 1-2, 2008 of post-election protests in Yerevan. "The victory is that you chose who would be prime minister". He was released from jail in 2011 under a prisoner amnesty scheme and elected to parliament the next year.

On Monday evening thousands of Pashinyan supporters rallied in Yerevan's central square, waving tricolour national flags and chanting his name. He was nominated y the ruling Republican Party.

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