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Pashinian’s Party Falls Short Of Two-Thirds Majority In New Parliament


Armenia - Former Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and senior members of his Civil Contract Party celebrate their election victory at a rally in Yerevan, June 21, 2021.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and his Civil Contract party fell just short of winning a two-thirds majority in Armenia’s new parliament, the Central Election Commission (CEC) confirmed on Tuesday.

According to the final results of the June 20 elections released by the CEC on Sunday, Civil Contract garnered about 54 percent of the vote. Two opposition alliances led by former Presidents Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian trailed it with 21 percent and 5.2 percent respectively.

The ruling party will control a significantly larger proportion of seats in the National Assembly thanks to the two dozen other election contenders that failed to clear the legal vote thresholds to enter the parliament. The latter will not be represented in the legislature despite polling a combined 20 percent of the vote.

The CEC used a complex formula set by Armenian law to distribute the 107 seats in the new parliament. Civil Contract will have 71 seats, with the remaining 36 seats given to the two opposition forces. Kocharian’s Hayastan bloc will control 29 of them.

The CEC chairman, Tigran Mukuchian, confirmed that Pashinian’s party will be one vote short of the two-thirds parliamentary majority required for amending the Armenian constitution, calling a referendum or impeaching the largely ceremonial president of the republic.

Pashinian and his political allies have enjoyed such a majority in the outgoing Armenian parliament elected in 2018.

The formula used for calculating the distribution of parliament seats includes a requirement that the opposition minority must control at least one-third of the National Assembly. The odd total number of the new parliament’s seats means that Pashinian’s party will get just under two-thirds of the seats.

Vladimir Vartanian, a senior member of the outgoing parliament representing Civil Contract, complained about this fact, saying that the existing legal mechanism is flawed. Vartanian did not rule out the possibility of challenging it in the Constitutional Court.

“I believe that a purely mathematical approach to this matter is not the best one,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.

Vartanian stressed at the same time that Pashinian’s political team will remain in a position to enact major laws that are defined as “constitutional bills” and need to be backed by at least 60 percent of the lawmakers.

The opposition minority could block or at least delay their entry into force by asking the Constitutional Court to examine their conformity with the Armenian constitution.

Kocharian said later on Tuesday that his bloc will have enough parliament seats to hold Pashinian’s administration in check and “achieve some of our goals.”

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