Armenia's new president, Serzh Sarkisyan, has pledged to heal rifts with opponents who criticized his election as fraudulent.

The former prime minister made the pledge as he took his oath of office Wednesday at a televised ceremony in the opera house of Armenia's capital, Yerevan.

Following the ceremony, the president appointed central bank chief Tigran Sarkisyan as the country's new prime minister. The two men are not related.

In central Yerevan, about 1,000 opposition supporters gathered to commemorate those killed in clashes between security forces and protesters following the February 19 elections. The violence left at least eight people dead and hundreds injured.

Rights groups have called on Mr. Sarkisyan to act quickly to address what they describe as a human rights crisis in the country.

Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group also have urged him to launch a probe into the election and the subsequent crackdown on the opposition.

Outgoing President Robert Kocharian delivered his farewell address to the nation Tuesday, thanking the Armenian people for contributing to the country's development in the past decade. He also expressed confidence in Armenia's future under the leadership of Mr. Sarkisyan, his hand-picked successor.

Mr. Sarkisyan says he plans to form a coalition government that guarantees freedoms and the supremacy of law. He also has pledged to fight unemployment and corruption.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.