Citing his bloc’s landslide victory in the mayoral race in Yerevan, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said on Monday that fresh parliamentary elections must held in Armenia “very soon.”
Official results of Sunday’s municipal elections showed the My Step bloc garnering 81 percent of the vote. Its landslide victory was recognized by its two main challengers.
Pashinian said the outcome of the Yerevan polls gave him the mandate to push for the dissolution of the current Armenian parliament and the conduct of snap general elections. The weekend vote demonstrated that the current National Assembly does not reflect the popular mood in the country, he declared in his latest video address to the nation aired through Facebook.
“The political events showed that pre-term elections must be held very soon because political uncertainties hamper new investments in our economy. I think that these elections also showed that in effect the existing parliament does not have a [popular] mandate to operate,” Pashinian said, speaking from New York where he arrived on Sunday to address a session of the UN General Assembly.
The premier added that on his return to Yerevan he will meet with representatives of major political forces to discuss time frames for the snap elections sought by him.
The Armenian government’s policy program approved by lawmakers in June says that such polls should be held by June 2019.
Meeting with members of the Armenian community in New York later on Sunday, Pashinian said that they must be held “earlier” than in June and “as soon as possible.” But he mentioned no specific dates.
Under the Armenian constitution, the parliament can be dissolved only if the prime minister resigns and lawmakers twice fail to choose his or her replacement. Former President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) holds the largest number of seats in the current legislature.
“We see no grounds, no need for fresh parliamentary elections,” the HHK’s parliamentary leader, Vahram Baghdasarian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service earlier on Monday. He said that the parliamentary forces need to amend the Electoral Code first.
Baghdasarian said at the same time that the HHK is ready for “any discussions” with Pashinian.
The Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the second largest parliamentary force, also expressed readiness to engage in such negotiations. The BHK holds five ministerial posts in Pashinian’s government.