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Ruling Team Names Election Campaign Managers


Armenia -- Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and his political allies hold a rally in Yerevan, March 1, 2021.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and his political team have named four senior government officials to run their parliamentary election campaign.

Deputy parliament speaker Alen Simonian, another leading Pashinian ally, said on Wednesday that Minister for Territorial Administration and Infrastructures Suren Papikian will be the ruling team’s chief campaign manager.

Papikian oversees Armenia’s provincial governors and elected heads of local communities.

Simonian said that Environment Minister Romanos Petrosian, the chief of Pashinian’s staff, Arsen Torosian, and a senior aide to the prime minister, Arayik Harutiunian, will also play a major role in the campaign for snap elections expected in June.

All four officials are senior members of Pashinian’s Civil Contract party, the dominant component of the ruling My Step bloc that won 70 percent of the vote in the last general elections held in December 2018.

Armenia -- Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Suren Papikian speaks at a news conference in Yerevan, February 26, 2020.
Armenia -- Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Suren Papikian speaks at a news conference in Yerevan, February 26, 2020.

Simonian told reporters that Pashinian and his party have not yet decided whether to preserve My Step, form a new electoral alliance or participate in the elections on their own.

Asked whether new figures could join the ruling team ahead of the polls, he said: “I cannot name any names. But nor can I exclude that there will be new people on our list.”

Pashinian announced on March 18 plans to dissolve the current Armenian parliament and hold the elections on June 20 amid continuing opposition protests against his rule. He has since toured two Armenian provinces to hold rallies in about a dozen local villages.

Opposition leaders say Pashinian has effectively launched his election campaign in breach of Armenian law and is abusing his government levers in a bid to hold on to power.

“It is clear that Pashinian has used and will use all [government] resources at his disposal to do well in the race,” said Gevorg Gorgisian of the opposition Bright Armenia Party.

Simonian dismissed the opposition allegations of foul play. He insisted that Pashinian’s rallies in Armavir and Aragatsotn provinces did not amount to illegal campaigning.

“The Armenian authorities are now in the most disadvantaged position because they have not only moral but also legal obligations,” he claimed. “They don’t have the kind of financial resources that the opposition has now. The Armenian opposition is now much wealthier and more competitive in terms of resources than the current authorities.”

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