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Marukian Opposed To Changing Election Laws Before Snap Vote


Edmon Marukian, the leader of the opposition Bright Armenia party (archive photo)

Edmon Marukian, the leader of Bright Armenia, the second largest opposition faction in the Armenian parliament, has spoken against changing electoral laws before snap parliamentary elections announced for June 20.

The ruling My Step faction has introduced a draft legislation to amend a set of election laws called the Electoral Code under which the current mixed voting system in which candidates are elected to parliament both on party lists and in individual races will be replaced with an all-proportional ballot system.

A number of leading public sector organizations and political parties have called for such a change to be introduced before the early elections.

Marukian, whose Bright Armenia along with the largest opposition faction, Prosperous Armenia, agreed last week not to field their candidates if Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian resigns to trigger the dissolution of parliament and the appointment of fresh elections.

Pashinian’s My Step enjoys a comfortable majority in the Armenian parliament, but it has sought a sort of arrangement with the parliamentary opposition to ensure that no one is nominated to replace Pashinian if he resigns.

At least one political group in Armenia is seeking the formation of an interim government after Pashinian’s resignation and does not want early elections to be held immediately.

The Homeland Salvation Movement, a loose alliance of over a dozen political parties and groups, has been holding street protests since November demanding the resignation of Pashinian, whom it holds responsible for the Armenian defeat in the 2020 war against Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The movement wants its leader Vazgen Manukian to be voted by parliament into the prime minister’s office once Pashinian resigns before early parliamentary elections can be held within at least a year.

Even after the announcement of the early election date, the Homeland Salvation Movement has refused to discontinue its street protests or change its agenda.

But some of its members – notably the Prosperous Armenia party of tycoon Gagik Tsarukian and the Hayrenik (Homeland) party of former chief of the National Security Service Artur Vanetsian – have indicated that they will take part in the early elections announced by Pashinian.

Speaking live on Facebook on Monday Bright Armenia’s Marukian argued that the very announcement of the election date has considerably reduced political tensions in the country. But he said that the rules of the game should not be changed before these elections are held.

“To adopt new rules of the game means imperiling the announced election date, hence, deepening the crisis in the country,” he said.

Marukian described the new draft election code as “unelaborated”, claiming that holding elections under changed election laws will cast a shadow over the legitimacy of the vote.

The opposition politician added, however, that Bright Armenia intends to participate in the early elections in any case.

Earlier, My Step’s lawmaker Nazeli Baghdasarian, who advocates a new election code, acknowledged the importance of a consensus among all parliamentary parties regarding its adoption.

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