Armenian PM to trigger parliamentary elections in bid to boost governing majority

Armenian PM to trigger parliamentary elections in bid to boost governing majority

Today, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will likely resign his premiership to trigger early parliamentary elections—a bid to secure his

Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York

Photo: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

Today, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will likely resign his premiership to trigger early parliamentary elections—a bid to secure his revolutionary party’s hold over National Assembly

Earlier this year, ex-Premier Serzh Sargsyan was overthrown in the so-called “Velvet Revolution” after he attempted to extend his rule by switching from president to prime minister. Alleged corruption along with Armenia’s ailing economy led to massive protests, forcing him to resign and giving Mr Pashinyan the opportunity to take control.

However, the prime minister can do little with a minority in parliament. Pashinyan’s party, having ridden the revolutionary wave to power, now must solidify its power base if it’s to achieve long-term success. Winning 81% of seats in a Yerevan city council election last month signals that Pashinyan still has some momentum, though whether support will continue through December’s elections remains to be seen.

Russia will be watching the election closely though likely not chancing direct meddling. Pashinyan has pursued stronger ties with the EU, while his opposition is often seen as pro-Moscow. If Pashinyan’s base is reaffirmed, the Kremlin may see its influence in the region decrease. However, as Armenia is still economically dependent on Russia, and any loss of influence would be marginal.

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