New Armenia PM sacks heads of police, security service

Yerevan (AFP) –


New Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who was swept to power this week on the back of popular protests, said Thursday he had sacked the heads of the country's police and security service.

The country's defence and finance ministers earlier said they would not serve in a new government, which has to be formed within a fortnight of the prime minister's election.

"I've just signed a statement to the president about relieving the Police chief Vladimir Gasparyan and security service head Georgi Kutoyan of their duties," the politician wrote on his Facebook page.

Armenia's parliament elected Pashinyan this week after he spearheaded weeks of mass protests against the ruling party, transforming the country's political landscape.

Critics accused longtime leader Serzh Sarkisian and his Republican party of corruption, being under the influence of powerful oligarchs, and of failing to tackle widespread poverty.

The hugely popular Pashinyan had in recent weeks piled pressure on the Republicans through an unprecedented campaign of civil disobedience, leading to Sarkisian's shock resignation, a week after he shifted to the newly-empowered role of prime minister after serving for 10 years as president.

Pashinyan said ahead of the vote that he would work to eradicate corruption and ensure "a normal life in the country".