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Opposition Party Sees No Landslide Winner In Armenian Elections


Armenia - Bright Armenia Party leader Edmon Marukian speaks with journalists, Yerevan, June 11, 2021.

Edmon Marukian, the leader of the opposition Bright Armenia Party (LHK), predicted on Friday that none of the political forces participating in the June 20 elections will win a majority of votes.

Marukian insisted that this outcome would prevent post-election unrest and bode well for the formation of a “government of national unity” by all the forces to be represented in Armenia’s next parliament. Such a government should be headed by a politically neutral prime minister, he said.

“We have made clear that we will not join any single force and help it come [to power] and destroy other forces,” Marukian told journalists while campaigning in Yerevan together with his associates. “We don’t have such an agenda. Either we all will join the forces to get the country out of this situation or … there will be a second round of voting.”

Under Armenian law, a runoff vote between the two top election contenders must be held if no party or bloc polls more than 50 percent of the vote or if up to three groups gaining control of at least 54 percent of the parliament seats between them fail to reach a power-sharing agreement.

In a clear reference to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s Civil Contract party and radical opposition blocs challenging it, Marukian claimed that a landslide election winner would spark allegations of fraud street protests by rival groups.

The LHK is one of the two opposition parties represented in the outgoing Armenian parliament. Some observers believe that it will struggle to clear the 5 percent vote threshold for being represented in the National Assembly this time around.

During the ongoing election campaign, Marukian’s party is positioning itself as an alternative to both the current government and the blocs led by former Presidents Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian.

Marukian deplored on Friday bitter recriminations and insults traded by Pashinian and the two ex-presidents in recent days. “How can the country’s incumbent and former leaders use such rhetoric?” he said.

“The more they insult each other the timelier our agenda becomes … The situation this country is in right now is such that hating each other and making plans to destroy each other is a luxury,” added the LHK leader.

Unlike Civil Contract and Kocharian’s Hayastan bloc, the LHK has avoided holding campaign rallies so far. Instead, Marukian and his allies have spent the first five days of the campaign walking around Yerevan and other cities, handing out booklets to passersby and appealing to voters in residential neighborhoods.

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