Armenian PM resigns; here's what led to the surprise move

Armenian opposition supporter raises his fist during a demonstration called by opposition in central Yerevan on Sunday. — AFP

Armenian opposition supporter raises his fist during a demonstration called by opposition in central Yerevan on Sunday. — AFP

Sarkisian had previously said he would not seek to become prime minster, and protesters accused him of violating that pledge in order to cling to power. "You won, proud citizen of the Republic of Armenia".

"Nikol Pashinyan was right", Mr. Sargsyan wrote. I was mistaken. There are several solutions to this situation, but I will not apply to any of them. As a president nearing his term limit, Sargsyan shifted the country to a system in which the prime minister is more powerful than the president, and a week ago he took the new top job.

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of the capital Yerevan in recent days. "I am fulfilling your demand".

Sargsyan met with opposition leader MP Nikol Pashinyan at Yerevan's Marriott hotel on Sunday morning. Sargsyan has riveted his statement advocating "peace, harmony and reasoning" in country, while indicating that his message is addressed to population, politicians and soldiers of Armenia.

Pashinyan and Sargsyan held public talks in a Yerevan hotel last night, which the prime minister cut off after a brief, ill-tempered exchange in which Sargsyan rejected calls to resign and said the opposition had failed to learn from the violence that accompanied his presidential election win in 2008. Sargsyan was elected prime minister on Tuesday in National Assembly, with vote in favour of 77 parliamentarians and rejection of anor 17, amid demonstrations against vote.

The oppositionists were set free after meeting with First Deputy Prime Minister Karen Karapetian at a detention site in the city's southern Erebuni district.

Serzh Sargsyan was president for a decade before being appointed PM. "Congratulations, victorious people", Pashinyan posted on Facebook.

Supply squeeze pushes oil price to 3½-year high
OPEC's Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee will recommend to OPEC whether the deal should be extended into 2019. OPEC and delegations from other major oil producing countries will meet in Jeddah April 20.

But it's important to remember that the government in Armenia remains the same, and the new acting prime minister is an old ally of Mr Sargsyan.

Asked if Russia would intervene, Mr Peskov said the matter was "exclusively an internal affair" and Russian action would be "absolutely inappropriate".

Despite the festive mood, many in Armenia acknowledged on Monday that the country still faced huge uncertainty.

Now around a third of people live under the poverty line, said Atanesian, adding that many detest the influence of powerful oligarchs.

On the eleventh day of the protests, hundreds of students, some medical students in white coats, marched arm-in-arm through the streets, holding Armenian flags. They feel like they deserve a better life and a more democratic country. Pashinyan told supporters shortly after his release in the capital Yerevan and before Sarkisian resigned.

He was reelected in 2013, with his second and final term ending April 9.

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