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Pashinian Allies Dismiss Republicans’ Election Chances


Armenia - Supporters wave the ruling Republican Party's election campaign flags at a rally in Yerevan, 14Mar2017.

Former President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) is unlikely to win any seats in Armenia’s new parliament, political allies of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said on Monday.

HHK leaders acknowledged over the weekend that Pashinian’s Civil Contract party will almost certainly win the snap general elections slated for December 9. They said their party will be aiming for second place in the unfolding parliamentary race.

Two lawmakers representing Civil Contract dismissed those statements, predicting that the HHK will most probably not be represented in the next National Assembly at all.

“I insist that both the leader [Serzh Sarkisian] and the top candidate of the Republican Party … do not know the people of Armenia,” one of them, Alen Simonian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “And not knowing the people’s troubles and often times being the cause of those troubles, they can’t be perceived as opposition by me. I regard them as a bunch of revanchists.”

“I don’t consider any HHK’s presence in the [new] National Assembly realistic,” said Simonian. “They have already been present there. The people of Armenia have seen what happens when they run their country.”

Another Civil Contract lawmaker, Hrachya Hakobian, was even more categorical. “If they had rebranded themselves, if they had gotten rid of the HHK acronym some of their members might deserve to be in the parliament and might actually win parliament seats,” he said.

Civil Contract is expected to enter the race in an alliance with mainly non-partisan politicians, civic activists and other public figures supporting Pashinian. While it is widely regarded as the election favorite, no opinion polls indicating the chances of other contenders have been released yet.

The HHK, which won the last parliamentary elections held in April 2017, needs to garner at least 5 percent of the vote in order to win any parliament seats. The legal vote threshold for alliances is set at 7 percent.

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