Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan's party wins majority in snap elections
Nikol Pashinyan's rival electoral bloc said that they would not recognise Pashinyan's quick claim to victory, which came when only 30 percent of precincts had been counted.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's party won a majority in the snap parliamentary elections with 53.9 percent of the vote, as per official results declared on June 21, 2021.
The alliance led by Pashinyan's rival, Robert Kocharyan, could only garner 21 percent of the vote, as per the results. However, Kocharyan contested the vote and alleged election fraud.
The winning party needs to obtain at least 50 percent of seats plus one and can be assigned additional seats in order to form a government.
Armenia's Snap Elections
• A record of four electoral blocs and 21 parties contested in the snap polls conducted on June 20, 2021.
• However, the main battle was between 46-year-old Nikol Pashinyan and 66-year-old Robert Kocharyan.
• The snap elections were called in an effort to defuse a political crisis after a war with Azerbaijan.
• Pashinyan announced hours after winning, that the Armenian people have given his Civil Contract party a mandate to lead the country and him to lead the country as prime minister,
Thus, according to the preliminary results of the elections as published by the Central Electoral Commission, in the newly-elected parliament the Civil Contract party will have a constitutional majority (at least 71 MPs out of 105) and will form a government led by me.— Nikol Pashinyan (@NikolPashinyan) June 21, 2021
• Nearly 50 percent out of the total 2.6 million eligible voters cast their votes, the turnout being higher than expected.
Kocharyan Alleges Election Fraud
• Kocharyan's electoral bloc said that they would not recognise Pashinyan's quick claim to victory, which came when only 30 percent of precincts had been counted.
• The bloc said in a statement that hundreds of signals from polling stations testifying to organised and planned falsifications serve as a serious reason for lack of trust.
• The bloc said that it would not recognise the results until the violations were studied.
• As per the election officials, however, the vote was conducted in accordance with Armenia's legislation.
Armenia's war with Azerbaijan
• Armenia's war with Azerbaijan in 2020 is also known as the Nagorno-Karabakh war, which was an armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding territories.
• The Nagorno-Karabakh region is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but it is partially governed by Artsakh, a breakaway state with an Armenian ethnic majority.
• While Armenia and Azerbaijan have been embroiled in a conflict over the piece of land for almost four decades, deadly fighting began between the ethnic Armenian forces and Azerbaijan on the morning of September 27, 2021 along the Nagorno-Karabakh Line of Contact.
• The two sides traded heavy fire and blamed each other for the outbreak of violence. The deadly conflict resulted in the killing of over 100 people with both sides claiming to have inflicted heavy losses on the opposing forces.
• While the United Nations strongly condemned the fighting and called on both sies to de-escalate tensions immediately, the fighting continued and three ceasefire truces brokered by Russia, France, and the United States failed. The heavy clashes had led to fears of the beginning of a full-fledged war.
• A ceasefire agreement was finally signed between Armenian President Nikol Pashinyan, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and Russian President Vladimir Putin on November 10, 2020 following the capture of Shusha, the second-largest settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh. The agreement was brokered by Russia.
• Russia will be deploying approximately 2,000 Russian soldiers as peacekeeping forces along the Lachin corridor between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh for at least five years.
• Over 65000 people were reportedly killed in the six weeks of fighting.
• Armenia had international praise for holding its first free and fair vote under Nikol Pashinyan's government in 2018.
• However, Armenians voiced conflicting opinions about Pashinyan. While some feel he deserves another chance and voted against the old guard, others blame him for having ceded territory in and around Karabakh to Azerbaijan in a humiliating truce agreement.
• Nikol Pashinyan said that he had to agree to the Moscow-brokered peace deal with Azerbaijan to prevent further human and territorial losses.