Armenian leader’s party wins snap vote despite defeat in war. Yerevan, Armenia – Results released on Monday show that Armenia’s acting Prime Minister Nicole Pasinian’s party has won a provisional election urged to alleviate anger over a peace treaty signed with Azerbaijan.
After counting all constituencies, Pashinyan’s civil contract party won 53.9% of the vote.
The bloc, led by former President Robert Kocharian, came in second with around 21 percent, the election commission said Monday. Pashinyan called for early elections in the Nagorno-Karabakh region after months of protests calling for his resignation due to a peace treaty signed to end a six-week fight with Azerbaijan.
As a result, Palestinian, 46, a 46-year-old former journalist who came to power in 2018 after leading massive street protests that ousted his predecessor, continued to enjoy widespread support despite humiliating defeats and protests calling for his resignation. When opposition protests surged in Yerevan, he drew thousands of people to the streets for support.
The agreement saw Azerbaijan regain control of much of and surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, which Armenian forces had held for over 25 years. Thousands of Armenians have taken to the streets of the capital Yerevan to protest a deal that betrays national interests.
Nagorno-Karabakh is within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of the Armenian National Army backed by the government in Yerevan since the end of the Separatist War in 1994, leaving the region and significant surrounding territories in Armenia’s hands.
Hostilities broke out at the end of September 2020 and Azerbaijani forces pushed deep into Nagorno-Karabakh and nearby areas in battles involving heavy artillery and drones that claimed more than 6,000 lives in six weeks.
Pashinyan defended the deal as a painful but necessary measure to prevent Azerbaijan from overpowering the entire Nagorno-Karabakh region. He resigned as prime minister by law after convening an election, but the acting prime minister remained the country’s leader.
The Sunday vote involved 21 political parties and four electoral blocks. Despite high sentiment over the war’s defeat and Pashinyan’s demand for resignation, election turnout was lukewarm. Only 49% of voters voted.
The bloc affiliated with another former president, Serzh Sargsyan, came in third with 5.2%, while other political parties accounted for nearly 4%. A block needs 7% to get into parliament and a party needs 5%. However, Armenian law allows the third-placed party or bloc to win seats if only two political forces enter the parliament.
Pashinyan’s party took a strong lead early in the count, and the acting prime minister claimed victory hours before all districts were counted. “We got through these tough times,” Pashinyan said in a speech broadcast at the party headquarters. Now is the time to stand up and move forward.
The Armenian alliance, led by his main competitor, Kocharyan, in a statement refused to accept the outcome “until all issues have been resolved and all doubts resolved”, citing unspecified violations on Election Day. Block’s spokesperson called it “a filthy victory.” Opinions on local media.
After the Armenian Electoral Commission announced the results of all constituencies, Pashinyan tweeted: “In the newly elected parliament, the civil contracting party will win at least 71 of 105 seats to win the constitutional majority” from me.”
In Russia, Armenia’s main ally, Kremlin spokeswoman Dmitry Peskov said the Palestinians had “convincingly won.” The European Organization for Security and Cooperation (OECD) said in a statement that the elections were “competitive and generally well managed in a short period of time”.
OSCE observers rated Election Days and Votes as “overall positive”, although they noted that they were “characterized by intense polarization and were damaged by increasingly vigorous rhetoric among key participants”.