|20th Prime Minister of Armenia|
8 May 2018
|Preceded by||Karen Karapetyan (Acting)|
|Leader of the Way Out Alliance|
18 May 2017
Serving with Aram Sargsyan, Edmon Marukyan
|Member of the National Assembly|
6 May 2012 – 8 May 2018
|Parliamentary group||Way Out Alliance (2017–)|
|Constituency||Electoral District #4|
|Born||Nikol Vovayi Pashinyan
(1975-06-01) June 1, 1975
Ijevan, Armenian SSR, Soviet Union
|Political party||Impeachment Union (2007)
Armenian National Congress (2008–2013)
Civil Contract (2013–)
|Occupation||journalist, former editor
of Haykakan Zhamanak
Nikol Vovayi Pashinyan (Armenian: Նիկոլ Վովայի Փաշինյան😉 is an Armenian politician who has served as Prime Minister of Armenia since 8 May 2018. He is a former journalist and editor.
He was the editor of Armenia’s best-selling daily liberal newspaper Haykakan Zhamanak (The Armenian Times), which has been highly critical of the governments of Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan. As the head editor of the daily since 1999, Pashinyan has been an important contributor to the discourse of the various movements that have opposed the governments of former President Robert Kocharyan and former President, Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan, whose presidency Pashinyan and the opposition rejected as illegitimate. In 2000, while he was the chief editor of Haykakan Zhamanak he was convicted on charges of defamation and libel against different people.
Pashinyan supported Levon Ter-Petrosyan in the 2008 presidential elections, when he was described as Ter-Petrosyan’s “customary crowd-warmer.” He went into hiding shortly after the deadly unrest following the election; he was wanted by the Armenian police on allegations of murder and mass disorder. In June 2009, he came out of hiding and turned himself in to the police. He was released after an amnesty was granted to many political prisoners in May 2011, nearly two years after he was jailed.
He was a leading member of the Armenian National Congress, an opposition movement led by former President of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrosyan. On May 6, 2012, he was elected to the National Assembly of Armenia.
He was the leader of the 2018 Armenian revolution which forced Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan and his government to resign. On 1 May 2018, he failed to gain enough votes from the Parliament to become the Prime Minister himself, but was elected in the second vote on 8 May.
Pashinyan went into hiding after the events of March 1st, 2008. Along with seven others, he was wanted by the Armenian Government for “committing premeditated actions intended to seizing of state power by force, of provocation and organization of mass disorders accompanied with murder in Yerevan.”
In an interview with RFE/RL on October 16, 2008, Pashinyan insisted that democratic “revolution” is the only way to effect change in Armenia and that President Sargsyan has done nothing to prove the opposite. He maintains that the government investigators are covering up the perpetrators of the 8 deaths on March 1, who he claims are former president Robert Kocharian and former prime minister Serzh Sargsyan.
In an interview given to a state-run TV channel, in December 2015, Nikol Pashinyan stated that he never left the Republic of Armenia, during the time he spent hiding, and that he spent most of his time hiding in Yerevan. Nikol Pashinyan considered this to be “shameful” for the National Security Service.
Detention and release
On July 1, 2009, Pashinyan came out of hiding and surrendered himself to Armenian police after a general amnesty declared by the Armenian authorities on June 19 of opposition figures that have been detained following the March 1 events.
Pashinyan was one of several opposition activists freed after an amnesty measure was passed by the National Assembly of Armenia in late May 2011, during a period of protracted anti-government protests. He spoke at an Armenian National Congress rally, where he called for snap elections and said they were the only possible means of restoring Armenians’ confidence in their government.
On November 22, 2004, at 8:40 pm, Pashinyan’s four-wheel drive vehicle parked just outside the Haykakan Zhamanak office in downtown Yerevan burst into flames after what the newspaper staff said was a strong explosion. Pashinyan believes he stayed alive by accident, since during the last three months he had normally finished work at between 8:30 and 9 o’clock in the evening, whereas on the day of the attack he worked longer than usual. The fire completely destroyed the car’s front section, including the driver’s seat. After launching an inquiry, police concluded unusually quickly that the fire was caused by a “breakdown of the car battery’s wires,” effectively denying that Pashinyan came under attack.
Pashinyan has said that the explosion was an assassination attempt engineered by a wealthy businessman, Gagik Tsarukyan. He said that Tsarukyan was infuriated by a recent Haykakan Zhamanak story that accused him of illegally cutting trees to build a villa in the resort town of Tsaghkadzor.
On December 9, 2013 Pashinyan with other six politicians and activists started a new political group called Civil Contract. The members of the board of Civil Contract said they will seek the resignation of Serzh Sargsyan. Pashinyan stated that the organization will take part in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Role in the 2018 Armenian protests
Various political and civil groups led by MP Nikol Pashinyan (head of Civil Contract party) staged anti-government protests in Armenia (most commonly known as Merzhir Serzhin (Armenian: Մերժիր Սերժին for “reject Serzh”) in 2018. Protests and marches were held in response to Serzh Sargsyan’s third consecutive term as the most powerful figure in the government of the Republic of Armenia. On April 23, Serzh Sargsyan resigned, which triggered the resignation of the government. Karen Karapetyan, the First Deputy Prime Minister, was appointed Acting Prime Minister. On April 25, one of Pashinyan’s allies said that Pashinyan intends to become Prime Minister until new elections to the National Assembly are held, because he has been “chosen by the people”. On May 1, the parliament failed to appoint Pashinyan, who was the only candidate, Prime Minister, since all representatives of the Republican Party, except for Feliks Tsolakyan, voted him down. On May 8, lawmakers voted 59 to 42 to approve Pashinyan for the job, after the ruling Republican Party came around to backing his premiership bid on his second attempt.
The day after his election as Prime Minister, Pashinyan traveled to Stepanakert to attend the Liberation Day and the Victory Day celebrations on his first official foreign visit in this position.
Regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Pashinyan consistently adheres to the same “hardline position on Nagorno-Karabakh that dominates Armenian political thinking.”