Earlier today (3 March), Armenian lawmakers elected Vahagn Khachaturyan as the fifth president of Armenia.
Khachaturyan, who has held a number of senior government positions, including mayor of Yerevan, and minister of the High-Tech Industry, was supported by the ruling Civil Contract party, who hold 69 out of the 107 seats in parliament. A first round of voting initially took place, but failed to produce the necessary 81 votes to pass the confirmation. The Armenian constitution allows for a second round of voting, in which only 64 votes are needed. Civil Contract’s majority was therefore enough to confirm Khachaturyan as the next Armenian president, after he received 71 votes. He will be inaugurated at a special session held in 10 days.
Opposing factions did not nominate candidates and announced they would be boycotting the vote, meaning Khachaturyan was the only candidate.
Khachaturyan was congratulated by the Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, who said that he was assuming the position “in an important period for the future of Armenia when we are in a difficult period of regional and international challenges”.
Addressing the parliament after his nomination, Khachaturyan expressed gratitude for the trust placed in him. He said this new opportunity would be an "experiment" for him, but one which he was convinced he would succeed at.
The previous president, Armen Sargissian, resigned in January, indicating that he was frustrated at the lack of power of the presidency, which under the current Armenian constitution is largely an honorary position. The 2015 referendum which saw Armenia become a parliamentary republic severely limited the president’s powers.