“The people of Armenia will certainly and undoubtedly win with a crushing percentage [of votes,]” Pashinian told the crowd that gathered in the city’s central Republic Square. “And yes, everything is decided because the people of Armenia have already decided everything in their minds, hearts and souls.”
“Armenia’s citizens have decided that there is a future in Armenia. There is a future!” he said, chanting Civil Contract’s campaign motto.
Pashinian went on to urge supporters to gather in the sprawling square on Monday to celebrate the ruling party’s victory. He said it will mark the beginning of an Armenian “steel revolution” involving tougher methods of governance.
Pashinian said his campaign rallies held across the country have demonstrated that most Armenians continue to support their government despite last year’s disastrous war with Azerbaijan, which left at least 3,700 Armenian soldiers dead.
His main election challengers, notably former Presidents Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian leading two opposition alliances, have claimed the opposite during the election campaign. They have said that Pashinian’s party will not win the majority of parliament seats needed to keep the incumbent prime minister in power.
Campaigning in Armenia’s Gegharkunik province earlier on Thursday, Kocharian claimed that his Hayastan (Armenia) alliance is on course to win most votes on Sunday.
The two ex-presidents as well as virtually all other opposition figures blame Pashinian for Armenia’s defeat in the war with Azerbaijan stopped by a Russian-brokered in November.
In his hour-long speech at the rally Pashinian did not comment on reasons for that defeat. He instead criticized Azerbaijan’s continuing “aggressive statements” and “unconstructive position” in the post-war period.
The premier said at the same time that he looks forward to the opening of transport links between Armenia and Azerbaijan envisaged by the truce accord. He said this will allow Armenia to have rail links with Russia and Iran via Azerbaijan.
Pashinian reiterated his pledges to deepen Russian-Armenian relations, calling them “the pivot of our security.” He also called for the launch of a “strategic dialogue” with Iran.