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Small town boy Pashinian is roll of dice to lead Armenia

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By Robert Hackwill
Small town boy Pashinian is roll of dice to lead Armenia

It is a long way from Yerevan and the centre of power in Amenia. Idjevan is a small town of some 20,000 people, and Nikol Pashinian's family home is a modest house in the suburbs.

It's where his family still lives. Now one of Idjevan's sons is the country's new prime minister, but the Pashinians always suspected great things of Nikol.

He is a political outsider whose emergence marks a rupture with the post-Soviet elite's way of doing things, the son of a retired schoolteacher, Vova.

"It's not just me who is proud of him but the whole nation. He's not just my son, he's the son of his nation. And he is even ready to give his life for his people," Vova says with a deep sigh.

Idjevan suffers from most of the ills of poverty and unemployment that afflict the rest of the country.

Brothers Armen and Artak say Nikol has the qualities to tackle Armenia's problems.

"Honesty, fairness - these qualities help him, like his hard-working nature."

"Yes, he is hard-working."

"And he can say the right words to the people and the people understand him. These are his most important qualities," they agree.

For those who know him Pashinian is a sure thing; for some of the others, he's a roll of the dice.