Armenian parliamentary election campaign to begin

Armenia’s election campaign officially starts today, ahead of snap parliamentary elections slated for June 20. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is expected

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Photo: AFP

Armenia’s election campaign officially starts today, ahead of snap parliamentary elections slated for June 20.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is expected to dominate the campaign. In September of last year, the decades-old territorial dispute flared up. After 6,000 deaths and Azerbaijani troops driving ethnic Armenians out of swathes of territory in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, the crisis finally came to an end with a Russian-brokered ceasefire in November.

Widely and accurately perceived as an Armenian defeat, the 2020 conflict forced Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to announce snap parliamentary elections.

In addition to settling Pashinyan’s political fate, in the short- to medium-term, the outcome of the elections will determine how Armenia will approach bilateral relations with Azerbaijan. Should Pashinyan and his governing My Step Alliance hold on to power, expect Yerevan to take a more conciliatory approach to Azerbaijani relations, emphasizing diplomacy and multilateral negotiations over resuming military hostilities to avenge the defeat. On the other hand, should the opposition make significant gains or even take power, this will signal, at a minimum, that Armenians desire a stronger response against Baku. This could manifest in the form of Yerevan taking a more diplomatically aggressive approach to Azerbaijani ally Turkey or even by the government deliberately breaking the ceasefire to retake the lost land.

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