Mon. Jun 24th, 2019

Armenia Election: Pm Nikol Pashinyan Wins By Landslide

PM Nikol Pashinyan

Armenia’s acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has won a convincing victory in Sunday’s snap parliamentary election, consolidating his authority.

His bloc won more than 70% of the vote, according to near-complete results.

A journalist turned politician, Mr Pashinyan spearheaded a peaceful revolution in April.

He has now secured a parliamentary majority to push through his programme of tackling corruption and reforming the economy.

Voter turnout has been low, at about 49%.

Historically, Armenia’s elections have been marred by fraud and vote-buying – but correspondents said there was hope that this one would be different.

International observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe were among those monitoring the process.

What is the result?

The centrist My Step Alliance, which includes Mr Pashinyan’s Civil Contract Party, won 70.45% of the vote, according to official results from 90% of precincts.

Its nearest rival, the moderate Prosperous Armenia party won just over 8%. Led by tycoon and arm-wrestling champion Gagik Tsarukyan, it was part of the ruling coalition in the outgoing parliament.

Bright Armenia, a liberal pro-Western party, won about 6% of the vote, the commission said.

Each party needs at least 5% of the vote to enter the 101-seat National Assembly, while blocs need 7% or more.

Armenia’s constitution states that 30% of seats in parliament must go to opposition parties.

What will it mean for Armenia?

At a polling station in the capital, Yerevan, voters said they hoped Mr Pashinyan would be able to deliver the ambitious changes he has promised.

One woman, who gave her name as Narine Harutyunyan, said she felt “very optimistic,” adding, “I hope that my vote is going to play a role so that there will always be a smile in the eyes of Armenians.”

A former Soviet state of three million people, Armenia hosts a Russian military base and depends on Moscow for its security.

Mr Pashinyan has said he hopes to “step up co-operation with the United States and European Union”.

How have the PM’s critics reacted?

The revolution led by Mr Pashinyan ousted the country’s 10-year President Serzh Sargsyan, a member of the Republic Party. He was accused of clinging to power after taking on the newly-enhanced role of prime minister when his term ended.

Armen Ashotyan, vice-president of the Republican Party, complained before the election that “all political parties were deprived of time to prepare well”.

He added that he expected “so-called post-revolutionary euphoria” would be reflected at the ballot box.