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Serzh Sarkisian’s Bloc To Also Take Up Parliament Seats


Armenia - Former President Serzh Sarkissian and former National Security Service Director Artur Vanetsian preside over the official establishment of an opposition alliance comprising their political parties, May 15, 2021

Former President Serzh Sarkisian’s opposition alliance said on Wednesday that it too will accept its seats in Armenia’s new parliament despite refusing to recognize Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s victory in last month’s parliamentary elections.

According to the official election results, the Pativ Unem (I Have the Honor) bloc comprising Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) and former National Security Service Director Artur Vanetsian’s Fatherland party finished second in the June 20 polls with 5.2 percent of votes.

The bloc will control seven parliament seats despite failing to clear a 7 percent vote threshold to enter the 107-member National Assembly. It benefited from a legal provision stipulating that at least three political groups must be represented in the Armenian parliament.

Pashinian’s Civil Contract party won 71 parliament seats, with the remaining 29 seats to be held by the opposition Hayastan bloc led by another ex-president, Robert Kocharian.

Both Pativ Unem and Hayastan rejected the official results as fraudulent, demanding that Armenia’s Constitutional Court annul them. The court rejected their appeals before Kocharian’s bloc announced on Tuesday that it will avoid a permanent boycott of the parliament favored by some opposition supporters.

A Pativ Unem spokesman, Sos Hakobian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that Sarkisian’s bloc will also take up its parliament seats.

The seats are to be given up to the top seven candidates on Pativ Unem’s electoral list, including Vanetsian and former Yerevan Mayor Taron Markarian. Hakobian said that none of them has decided to drop out so far.

Sarkisian, who ruled Armenia from 2008-2018, was not among Pativ Unem candidates despite taking center stage in the bloc’s election campaign.

By contrast, Kocharian topped his alliance’s electoral list, aiming for the post of prime minister. Still, he decided to cede his parliament seat to another Hayastan candidate.

Both opposition blocs have pledged to stick to their uncompromising stances on Pashinian’s administration blamed by them for Armenia’s defeat in last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

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