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In Armenia Citizens vote to give more powers to prime minister

"What happened yesterday during the vote is a treason," one of the opposition leaders, Raffi Hovannisian, said in the early hours of Monday morning in the city's central square.

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Armenians vote to give more powers to prime minister play

Armenians vote to give more powers to prime minister

(NDTV)

Armenians voted to curb the president's powers and boost the role of prime minister, results showed on Monday, a move backers say will bolster democracy and stability but opponents warn will entrench the ruling party's control over the country.

Just short of two thirds - 63.35 percent - of voters supported the proposed changes to the constitution in Sunday's referendum, according to preliminary results, easily more than the simple majority needed.

Opposition activists took to the streets of capital Yerevan overnight, many saying there had been polling violations. Police stopped crowds trying to reach the central election commission's office.

"What happened yesterday during the vote is a treason," one of the opposition leaders, Raffi Hovannisian, said in the early hours of Monday morning in the city's central square.

The opposition say the changes are designed to pave the way for President Serzh Sarksyan to prolong his rule by becoming prime minister when term limits force him to move on in 2018. Sarksyan has denied any such plans.

The changes, approved in parliament in October, will curb the role of the historically powerful president and give more authority to the prime minister and parliament. They are due to come into force after parliamentary election in May 2017.

Under the changes, the president will no longer be elected by popular vote, but by parliament. The winner will stay in the job for seven years instead of the current five, but will only have largely ceremonial powers.

Most of the role's current powers will pass to the prime minister and parliament.

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