Armenia Opposition leader suspends nationwide protests

Armenia Opposition leader suspends nationwide protests

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YEREVAN: Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan has suspended nationwide protests after the governing Republican Party indicated it would support his bid to be interim prime minister.

The demonstrations brought much of Armenia to a standstill on Wednesday.

Mr Pashinyan told supporters that the party’s position needed clarifying but protests would be suspended for a day.

Republicans blocked Mr Pashinyan’s bid to become prime minister in a parliamentary vote on Tuesday.

In a statement on Wednesday, the party did not mention Mr Pashinyan by name but said they would back a candidate nominated by a third of MPs at next week’s vote in parliament. It said it would not put forward its own candidate, leaving Mr Pashinyan as the only nominee.

“The issue has practically been solved,” Mr Pashinyan told tens of thousands of supporters gathered in the capital, Yerevan.

“All factions said they would support my candidacy… We are suspending protests and going to have a rest.”

Mr Pashinyan has led weeks of anti-government protests that forced Serzh Sargsyan to resign after 10 years in power.

On Tuesday, he called for a general strike after Republican Party MPs refused to back him in a parliamentary vote for interim prime minister.

Protests broke out across Yerevan and other main cities on Wednesday with cars and lorries blocking roads, while demonstrators stopped traffic on the route to the main airport.

Tourists had to abandon vehicles and carry their luggage. Metro stations in Yerevan were closed as part of the campaign of disobedience.__BBC

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