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Tsarukian Party To Take Part In Elections Separately


Gagik Tsarukian, the leader of the opposition Prosperous Armenia Party (archive photo).

The largest opposition party represented in the current Armenian parliament will take part in the expected early parliamentary elections without forming any alliances with other parties or groups, its representative said.

Naira Zohrabian, of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), which holds 23 mandates in the 132-seat parliament, said during a news briefing on Friday that the BHK will present a separate list of candidates for the elections expected to be scheduled for June 20.

She said that BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian will top the party’s slate.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian announced early parliamentary elections in Armenia after talks with Tsarukian on March 18.

The same day Edmon Marukian, the leader of the other opposition faction in parliament, Bright Armenia, said he had a telephone conversation with Pashinian and agreed to the date set for the elections.

The decision came amid street protests held by a coalition of 16 opposition parties, including the BHK, demanding Pashinian’s resignation over the Armenian defeat in the 2020 war with Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh and the formation of an interim government before snap elections could be held in a year’s time.

Pashinian has refused to hand over power to an interim government, indicating that he will seek to reaffirm in snap elections that he and his political team continue to enjoy popular support in Armenia.

In order to get the elections to be held on June 20 Pashinian will need to resign at some point in late April and the parliament will need to twice fail to elect a new prime minister within two weeks in order to be dissolved by virtue of law.

Pashinian’s agreement with the opposition effectively means that neither the BHK, nor Bright Armenia will field their candidates when the prime minister resigns.

Speaking in parliament earlier this week, Pashinian said that his My Step alliance wants to change the current electoral code before snap elections are appointed.

According to the current election laws, candidates are elected to parliament both on party lists and in individual races. The pro-Pashinian majority in parliament suggests that the current mixed system be replaced with an all-proportional ballot.

The BHK’s Zohrabian said today that their political party will participate in the elections according to the electoral system that the parliament majority adopts.

“As for the electoral system, it is the parliament majority that determines the rules of the game here… For us it is much more important to have free and fair elections in which no administrative resources will be used,” Zohrabian said.

Earlier, Bright Armenia also indicated that it will participate in the early elections in any case. But its representatives have called on the parliament majority not to change the electoral code before the elections.

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