'I was wrong': Armenia PM quits after mass protests

Armenian PM quits after nearly two weeks of street protests

Armenian PM quits after nearly two weeks of street protests

Thousands of jubilant Armenians have poured into Yerevan's main square to celebrate the resignation of Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian, who stepped down amid widespread street protests over his election to the newly powerful post following 10 years as president. The protesters had accused him of trying to extend his grip on power under new laws which would have allowed him to lead the country for life.

Russian officials and state television have been cautious in commenting on the political crisis in Armenia. The Armenian government says former Prime Minister Karen Karapetian will stand in for Sargsyan until a new PM is elected. It's not my style. "I am leaving office of the country's leader, of prime minister".

"This was the rare aberration - the rare exception of a peaceful non-violent degree of people power actually achieving its goals", Giragosian said. The National Assembly must now appoint the people's candidate for prime minister.

Mr. Putin can be expected to squeeze whoever succeeds Mr. Sargsyan as prime minister; in addition to its economic levers, Russian Federation maintains a military base in the country.

It's not clear whether Mr. Sargsyan's departure will prompt a genuine change in Armenia's government or its servile stance toward the Kremlin.

SERZH SARGSYAN, who ruled Armenia as president from 2008 until this month, was a faithful client of Vladimir Putin. The demonstrations had reiterated ir willingness to continue with concentrations until resignation of Sargsyan, an exmilitary of 63 years, who blames for not having reduced poverty or corruption, while magnates continue to have an advantage over Economy of country. People hugged and kissed each other, and motorists honked their horns.

-April 20: About 40,000 people demonstrate in Yerevan, blocking the defense minister's vehicle before police forcefully clear the way.

Nikol Pashinyan, an opposition leader at the centre of the riots, was among the hundreds of detainees, but was released yesterday.

On Sunday police had detained three opposition leaders and almost 200 protesters, drawing a rebuke from the European Union.

Pashinyan said he would hold talks with Karapetyan to discuss what happens next. As for snap parliamentary elections, Pashinyan said that the vote should take place "within the soonest possible time".

Last week Putin rang Sarksyan to congratulate him on becoming premier.

Under Sargsyan's rule, Armenia bought weapons from Moscow and joined the Eurasian Economic Union, a Russian-backed economic bloc created to deter neighbors from trading with Europe.

A number of uniformed former soldiers and veterans who had fought in Nagorny Karabakh - a breakaway region seized by Armenian separatists after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 - also joined the demonstrations.

But critics have also accused Sarkasyan of moving landlocked Armenia too close to Russian Federation at the expense of better ties with the West and increased prosperity, and it was unclear whether his political demise could lead to a change in foreign policy.

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