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Armenian PM Expects Fresh Elections In 2018


ARMENIA - Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan addresses lawmakers during a parliament session to elect a new prime minister in Yerevan on May 8, 2018.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian suggested on Tuesday that fresh parliamentary elections sought by his political team will be held in Armenia later this year.

Pashinian demanded the conduct of such elections immediately after tens of thousands of his supporters demonstrating in the streets of Yerevan forced his predecessor Serzh Sarkisian to resign on April 23. Observers believe that he and his political allies would win them by landslide.

Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) holds the majority of seats in the current parliament. It is therefore in a position to block key bills drafted by Pashinian’s government.

The premier was asked by reporters about fresh elections as he walked from one ministry building to another to present newly appointed members of his cabinet to their staffs. “We will discuss that,” he said.

“I think this year,” he replied when asked about possible election dates.

The idea of snap polls is supported in principle not only by Pashinian’s Yelk alliance but also the two other parliamentary minority factions: the Tsarukian Bloc and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. Both groups have received ministerial posts in the new government.

The HHK’s position on the issue remains unclear. Senior representatives of the formerly ruling party have only signaled that it will likely approve the Pashinian government’s policy program which will be submitted to the National Assembly by the end of this month.

Pashinian seemed confident about the program’s approval by lawmakers. But he at the same time warned: “I also think that nobody should succumb to a temptation to wrongly interpret the political situation.”

Under the Armenian constitution, pre-term general elections will have to be called if the prime minister resigns and the parliament twice fails to elect a new premier.

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