YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Armenia’s acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has been officially appointed to the post by the country’s president after Pashinyan’s party won an early parliamentary election in June.
The newly elected parliament convened for the first time on Monday, and Pashinyan’s Civil Contract party, which has the majority of the seats, nominated him to be the prime minister. Shortly after, Armenia’s President Armen Sarkissian signed a decree to that effect. In accordance with the country’s constitution, a cabinet must be formed within 15 days.
Pashinyan’s party won 71 seats in the June 20 election, while 29 went to a bloc headed by former President Robert Kocharyan. A different bloc that formed around another former president, Serzh Sargsyan, won seven seats.
Those blocs and two smaller parties appealed the election results, arguing to the Constitutional Court that they should be declared invalid because of alleged voting violations, but the court rejected the appeal and upheld the results last month.
Pashinyan called the early election after months of protests demanding his resignation because of a November peace deal he signed to end six weeks of fighting with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The peace agreement saw Azerbaijan reclaim control over large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas that had been held by Armenian forces for more than a quarter-century. Protesters in Armenia denounced the deal as a betrayal of national interests,
Pashinyan stepped down as prime minister, as required by law to hold the election, but has remained in charge as the country’s acting leader.