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Opposition Leader Rules Out Support For Pashinian’s Reelection


Armenia - Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian meets with opposition leader Edmon Marukian, December 29, 2020

Edmon Marukian, the leader of the opposition Bright Armenia Party (LHK), on Tuesday ruled out a power-sharing agreement with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian that would enable the latter to remain in power after snap general elections expected in June.

Marukian said that the LHK, which is one of the two opposition parties represented in Armenia’s current parliament, would also not join a coalition government headed by former President Robert Kocharian, another major election contender.

“During the election campaign we will be telling our people that we agreed to these elections … not for the sake of Nikol Pashinian’s reelection,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. “What’s the point of holding the elections if he is to get reelected?”

Asked whether his party could strike a post-election coalition deal with Pashinian, Marukian said: “We rule out any coalition under the premiership of Nikol Pashinian or Robert Kocharian.”

Marukian said that his party is open to other “compromise solutions” that would not lead to Pashinian’s reelection as prime minister or Kocharian’s return to power.

“We need to ensure that no political force has an outright majority in the new parliament,” he stressed. “That’s the only way to ensure that nobody can be single-handedly elected as prime minister.”

Pashinian has pledged to hold the elections in June to resolve a continuing political crisis sparked by last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh. He has dismissed calls for his resignation made by virtually all opposition groups.

Kocharian said last week that he will lead an electoral alliance comprising at least two opposition parties. The ex-president, who had ruled Armenia from 1998-2008, predicted earlier this year a “bipolar” parliamentary race, implying that he will be Pashinian’s main challenger.

Marukian last week urged both Kocharian and Pashinian to drop out of the unfolding race. He said Armenia needs to follow a “third path” represented by his party.

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