After Armenia’s humiliating defeat in the war with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the leaders of the ruling Armenia party face a difficult election. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called for early elections on Sunday to appease public anger over the November peace deal. In recent months, protesters have demanded Pashinyan’s resignation.
The impact of the struggle with Azerbaijan on the elections
The deal brokered by Russia ended a six-week war between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces, but Azerbaijan regained control of large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding area where Armenian forces had fought for several years.
Agreement with Azerbaijan was opposed in Armenia
Following the agreement, residents of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, celebrated the victory, while thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Yerevan, accusing it of betraying national interests. Richard Giragosen, director of the Yerevan Regional Study Center, said: “This election is like a referendum following the unexpected defeat in the Nagorno-Karabakh war. The attack on Azerbaijan in conjunction with the he Turkish army has redefined the political landscape in Armenia.
Pashinyan came to power in 2018
Nikol Pashinyan came to power in 2018 after massive protests in the country. He defended the deal, claiming that Azerbaijan had to be stopped otherwise he would have controlled the entire Nagorno-Karabakh region. He left his post as prime minister for a premature election and is currently the interim prime minister.
Know the main game
More than 2,000 polling stations have been set up for Sunday’s elections and there are around 26 lakh of eligible voters. There are 21 political parties and four coalitions in the election, but the main conflict is between two political forces: the ruling Civic Contract Party led by Pashinyan and the Armenian Alliance of former President Robert Kocharyan. According to recent media reports, there is a possibility of a close conflict between Pashinyan’s party and the Kochrayan alliance. To form a government, you have to win 54% of the seats in Parliament. Kochrayan was president from 1998 to 2008.