A senior lawmaker acknowledged on Friday that Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) might lose control over Armenia’s current parliament if opposition leader Nikol Pashinian is elected prime minister next week.
The 105-member parliament is scheduled to again vote on Pashinian’s candidacy on May 8.The HHK, which now controls at least 55 parliament seats, has promised to ensure that he garners enough votes to replace Sarkisian as prime minister.
Gevorg Kostanian, the chairman of a key parliament committee representing the HHK, commented cautiously on further political developments in the county. He only suggested that Pashinian would either lead a minority government or gain a majority in the current National Assembly.
“In a parliamentary republic, the government changes if there is a change of the parliament majority,” Kostanian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). He said that could happen “if someone leaves a particular faction or if factions form coalitions.”
Asked whether that means some deputies may defect from the HHK faction to the Pashinian camp, Kostanian said: “From the political standpoint, it’s a bit hard for me to make forecasts … But from the legal standpoint everything is possible.”
Pashinian is now fully backed by the three other parliamentary forces: the Yelk and Tsarukian alliances and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. He has repeatedly said that once elected prime minister he will try to push through major amendments to Armenian electoral legislation and force fresh parliamentary elections. It is not yet clear whether the HHK leadership will agree to that.
The Armenian constitution stipulates that snap elections must be called only if the parliament twice fails to elect a prime minister or refuses to approve a policy program submitted by a newly formed cabinet. Pashinian has said during massive anti-government protests organized by him that he would therefore seek a parliamentary vote of no confidence in case of his premiership.
Edmon Marukian, a senior Yelk lawmaker, said he is optimistic that Pashinian and his allies will convince most lawmakers to accept such a scenario. “Otherwise, the political crisis will continue,” he warned.