Sarkissian, Pashinyan Discuss Early Elections

March 23, 2021

President Armen Sarkissian and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan meet on March 23

Ruling and Opposition Forces Discuss Election Participation

President Armen Sarkissian and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Tuesday met to discuss the country’s domestic situation, as well as snap parliamentary elections, which last week the prime minister announced for June 20.

“The President and the Prime Minister discussed the situation in the country, the steps aimed at improving the domestic political atmosphere, addressed the holding of early elections of parliament. The implementation of necessary steps directed at the free and fair organization of elections was highlighted, including through the perfection of the Constitution and the legislative framework,” the president’s press office said in a statement.

Pashinyan announced the snap elections after meeting with Gagik Tsarukyan, leader of the parliamentary opposition Prosperous Armenia Party.

On Tuesday, the Prosperous Armenia Party, which is also part of the opposition Homeland Salvation Movement, announced that it will take part in the election with its own list of candidates.

“If the current leadership has enough will to organize early elections on June 20, Prosperous Armenia Party will not hinder it. Yes, that process is necessary for overcoming the political crisis. Prosperous Armenia Party will participate in the elections with a separate list, without any coalitions,” said Shake Isayan, a party spokesperson.

Edmon Marukyan, the leader of the parliament’s other opposition group, the Bright Armenia Party, had also indicated that his party would take part in the elections.

On Monday, Marukyan spoke against changing electoral laws before the snap parliamentary elections, in reference to draft legislation introduced by the ruling My Step alliance, which seeks to amend election laws.

“To adopt new rules of the game means imperiling the announced election date, hence, deepening the crisis in the country,” Marukyan said, adding that the new amendments were not fleshed out and holding elections with new laws will impact the legitimacy of the voter.

The Homeland Party of former National Security Service chief Artur Vanetsyan also announced that his part would take part in the June election, saying that it would determine at a later date whether it will go it alone or form a coalition. The Homeland Party is also part of the opposition Homeland Salvation Movement.

On Tuesday, My Step leader Lilit Makunts said that Pashinyan would lead the roster of the alliances candidates.

The Homeland Salvation Movement continued to insist that Pashinyan should resign immediately, saying that its proposal of a national accord government, led by its candidate Vazgen Manukyan, should organize the snap elections.