Eight Parties, One Bloc To Run In Parliamentary Elections In Armenia


May 2 2012

Armenia will hold elections to its National Assembly on May 6.

The Central Elections Commission has registered the electoral lists
of eight parties and one block of organizations allowed to run in
the elections.

Running for 90 parliamentary seats on a proportional representation
system will be the ruling Republican Party led by President Serzh
Sargsyan, the party Prospering Armenia led by businessman Gagik
Tsarukian, the Orinats Yerkir party led by National Security
Council Secretary Artur Bagdasarian, the Revolutionary Federation
of Dashnaktsutyun, the Heritage party led by former Foreign Minister
Raffi Ovannisian, running in an alliance with the party Free Democrats,
which earlier split off from the opposition Armenian National Congress,
the opposition block Armenian National Congress led by former President
Levon Ter-Petrosian, which is comprised of 18 political organizations,
the Democratic Party, the Communist Party and the United Armenians

The Republican Party, Prospering Armenia, and Orinats Yerkir comprise
the ruling coalition.

A public opinion survey conducted by the Armenian Sociological
Association and Gallup International Association on April 16-22 showed
that 42% of those polled were ready to vote for the Republican Party,
28% for Prospering Armenia, 7% for the Armenian National Congress,
5% for Orinats Yerkir, 5% for Dashnaktsutyun, 4% for Heritage, 1%
for the Communist Party, 0.4% for United Armenians and 0.3% for the
Democratic Party.

The Armenian law stipulates that a party has to overcome the 5%
threshold and a bloc the 7% election threshold to be represented in
the parliament.

Analysts are of the view that the principal rivals in the elections
will be the Republican Party, Prospering Armenia, and the Armenian
National Congress.

Some pundits are suggesting that Prospering Armenia is losing the
voters’ trust for a number of reasons.

“This party started introducing itself as an opposition party even
before the race, although it has been part of the [ruling] coalition
for the past five years. When members of this party talk about a
difficult social situation in the country, employment problems, and
unaffordable medical services and housing, it would be wrong to forget
that they have controlled the social protection and labor, healthcare,
sports and youth affairs, and city planning ministries for the past
five years,” political analyst Grant Melik-Shakhnazarian told Interfax.

As regards the Armenian National Congress led by ex-President
Ter-Petrosian, it has been weakened because of a lack of funding in
the past years, he said.

The Republican Party, Prospering Armenia, the Armenian National
Congress, Orinats Yerkir, Dashnaktsutyun, and Heritage have chances to
qualify for the parliament, Melik-Shakhnazarian said. “The last days
of the campaign will be decisive for these political groups,” he said.

The elections will be monitored by about 30,000 observers from 53
non-governmental organizations, including 16,000 local observers from
31 organizations.

PACE, the OSCE/ODIHR, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and the European
Parliament are expected to delegate about 600 observers.

The Armenian National Assembly is comprised of 131 members, 90 of whom
are elected on a proportional representation system and the other 41
on a single-winner system.

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