May 2, 2018 / 8:25 AM / 24 days ago

RPT-FACTBOX-Armenian protest leader challenging for power

(Repeats May 1 story)

May 2 (Reuters) - Here are some details about Nikol Pashinyan, the Armenian opposition figure leading mass protests against the ruling establishment:

* Pashinyan was born in Ijevan, northeastern Armenia, in 1975.

* He worked as a journalist and produced work which was critical of Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sarksyan, the two men who have dominated political life in Armenia since the late 1990s. He rose to be editor of Armenian newspaper Haykakan Zhamanak.

* During the 2008 presidential campaign, Pashinyan aligned himself with Levon Ter-Petrosyan, Armenia’s first president since it became an independent state in 1991, who was making an unsuccessful comeback bid.

* Pashinyan was imprisoned in June 2009 on charges of fomenting unrest during post-election protests that turned violent. Pashinyan was sentenced to four years in prison. He was released two years later under an amnesty.

* In a 2017 parliamentary election, Pashinyan was elected a member of the national assembly.

* Pashinyan emerged as the leader of a protest movement after Sarksyan, forced to step down as president because of constitutional term limits, announced he would seek to become prime minister instead. After days of mass protests, Sarksyan announced he was quitting the prime minister’s post.

* Pashinyan has not questioned Armenia’s geopolitical alignment with Russia under Sarksyan and his criticism has focused on domestic issues such as corruption and poverty.

* In public appearances, he often wears a camouflage T-shirt and cap, though he swapped that outfit for a jacket and tie on Tuesday when he asked parliament to choose him as the next prime minister. (Reporting by Hasmik Mkrtchyan and Margarita Antidze; Editing by Catherine Evans and Janet Lawrence )

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