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News ID: 22125
Asia » Asia
Publish Date: 17:08 - 25 April 2018
TEHRAN, April 25 - Police took up positions in the center of the Armenian capital on Wednesday as tens of thousands of people protested against the ruling elite and the acting prime minister suggested new parliamentary elections to defuse the political crisis.

Armenians protest as acting leader suggests new electionsTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) – "The fight is not over!," said 21-year-old Susana Adamyan, one of the demonstrators, who was clutching a placard calling on people to take a stand as policemen looked on.

Other protesters, many of them young people, held portraits of government officials whose faces had been crossed out with red paint.

When senior members of the ruling Republican Party appeared nearby, a Reuters reporter heard people shouting at them "Go home! You're a disgrace!"

Though protests have so far been peaceful, the sudden upheaval has threatened to destabilize Armenia, a Russian ally in a volatile region riven by its decades-long, low-level conflict with Azerbaijan.

Moscow, which has two military bases in Armenia, is closely watching events.

The crisis has seen tens of thousands of people take to the streets in anti-government protests in the last two weeks and looked to have peaked on Monday when Serzh Sarksyan, the object of protesters' fury, resigned as prime minister.

Demonstrators, led by opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan, had accused Sarksyan of manipulating the constitution to cling to power and crowds wildly celebrated after he quit.

Pashinyan had been due to hold talks today with Karen Karapetyan, the acting prime minister, to decide on the next steps.

Those talks were canceled after the two sides failed to agree an agenda however and Pashinyan declared late on Tuesday he was ready to become the people's prime minister.

Karapetyan suggested on Wednesday that early parliamentary elections be held so as to test the level of popular support for Pashinyan and his potential viability as prime minister.

"What does 'people's candidate' mean?," Karapetyan told a news conference.

"I don't know any country where a prime minister is chosen like that. There are elections for that. If he (Pashinyan) is the people's choice, that means the people will choose him."

The economy of the landlocked South Caucasus country of three million would face problems if the crisis continued, Karapetyan said.

He did not say when new elections might be held.

Source: Reuters

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