Pashinyan declares victory in snap vote

Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan casting his ballot in the 2021 snap parliamentary elections (Photo: Facebook)

The political party led by Armenia’s acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan received the most votes after Sunday’s post-war, snap parliamentary elections. 

Armenia’s Central Electoral Commission reports that Pashinyan’s Civil Contract Party won by a wide marginalmost 54-percent of the votewhile the Armenia Alliance, led by former president Robert Kocharyan, received the endorsement of just over 21-percent of voters. Election officials say just over 50-percent of eligible voters were absent from the voting process. A record total of 22 political parties and four alliances participated in Sunday’s elections, which were triggered in late April upon Pashinyan’s resignation and his agreement with opposition parliamentary factions to stage early elections amid the ongoing political crisis following Armenia’s loss in the 2020 Artsakh War.

It is expected that the Civil Contract Party will maintain its parliamentary majority with 71 out of 105 seats in the National Assembly. Armenia Alliance will likely receive 27 seats, and the I Have Honor Alliance, which earned just over five percent of the vote, seven seats. 

“I call on all of those structures and segments with whom we have had disagreements and conflicts. We extend to you our hand of unity, emphasizing that we cannot place under doubt the responsibility we have undertaken in front of the people to employ the steel mandate and establish a dictatorship of justice and the law in Armenia,” Pashinyan declared during a victory rally in Republic Square on Monday evening. The rally ended with the presentation of a plaque to Pashinyan representing the symbolic “steel mandate” to rule. 

The Armenia Alliance has announced that it will challenge the election results in the Constitutional Court due to suspicions of a “systematic and pre-planned falsification of the election results.” Based on information gathered from pre-election headquarters and observations on election day, the Armenia Alliance reported the utilization of administrative resources by the government, the direction of army votes in favor of the government, voter intimidation and counts of electoral fraud and bribery.

“The results are in conflict with various manifestations of public life that we have witnessed over the past eight months, with the results of public opinion polls, including the ones conducted by international organizations and, finally, with simple common sense,” read a statement by the Armenia Alliance. “The large campaign rallies of the opposition, the small number of people attending gatherings organized by the ruling power and the crisis of confidence signaled a completely different mood in the country.” 

In spite of these allegations, international and domestic election observers praised the election as competitive, trustworthy and well-organized. “However, they were characterized by intense polarization and marred by increasingly inflammatory rhetoric among key contestants,” said Kari Henriksen, head of the delegation from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, during a post-election press conference hosted by the international observation mission. The joint mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) deployed 353 observers from 37 countries to more than half of the polling stations throughout the country and oversaw the vote tabulations. 

George Katrougalos, head of the delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, noted some “minor technical irregularities in some poll stations, some overcrowding, no possibility in some of them for people with disabilities to have access.” These problems, however, “did not in any case put into question regarding the respect of the democratic and constitutional order.” 

“Candidates could campaign freely throughout the election process, fundamental rights and freedoms were generally respected, and voters were provided with a broad range of options, leading to a competitive election,” concluded Eoghan Murphy, head of the delegation from the OSCE Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

The “Akanates” observation mission, which includes the Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center, the Law Development and Protection Foundation and the Asparez Journalists’ Club NGO, concurred that the election process was free of widespread gross violations. During a post-election press conference, the deputy director of the Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center Sona Ayvazyan noted “small tensions in several polling places” due to the presence of unauthorized people from several different political forces who attempted to surveil or direct the voting process. The most common violation published by the mission was the attempt to control or influence voters. The mission also recorded cases in which the number of agents from a political party or alliance present at a polling station exceeded the number permitted by law and in which agents stood outside polling stations with voter lists to check if a citizen voted for a particular candidate. 

The Early Election Working Group of the Prosecutor General’s Office published a summary of violations reported to the office on the day of the election. The office received 319 such notices, 68 of which were provided by the press, 127 by individuals, 17 by social media users and 107 by the police. Most of these cases regarded voting for more than one person or more than once, obstruction of the right to vote and electoral bribes. The Prosecutor General’s Office is opening preliminary investigations into these crimes. 

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian is a staff writer for the Armenian Weekly. Her writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hetq and the Daily Californian. She is pursuing master’s degrees in Journalism and Near Eastern Studies at New York University. A human rights journalist and feminist poet, Lillian's first poetry collection Journey to Tatev was released with Girls on Key Press in spring of 2021.

10 Comments

  1. Congrats Armenians on your new old failed journo leader. Turning domestic voters against their best interest is an A+ psyop, because not only do you undermine your country’s statehood, you also entirely alienate the diaspora. It’s not even so much about which party would have led to a better future because we have seen now that 30 years of wasted time mean that this question is out of our sovereign hands anyway. But at least the people could have shown that they are intelligent enough not to fall into the same trap again. Failure. Failure of a people. Enjoy becoming the Irevan vilayet. Meanwhile maybe have another Aurora prize and congratulate each other on your humanitarian achievements.

    If we have learned one thing, it is that these are “survivor”-type people who can’t do anything but survive in miserable circumstances. Which is something very different from thriving. I guess 500+ years of Ottoman Empire will cripple you mentally enough to become fundamentally dysfunctional. Not developing a true intellectual fundament developed in 70 years of USSR didn’t help either.

    Good luck with your degenerate in chief – but without me. Diasporan out.

  2. Turks don’t have a better friend then this incompetent, lying land giving coward traitor.. Too bad the only other option was the ultra corrupt, Russian tool, king of all thieves Kocharyan.

  3. This is an example of:

    “The diaspora has no right to meddle in Armenia’s politics, because you do not live there”. This is the same as stating: “the lunatics must run the asylum”, and sums up precisely the Armenian mentality of being wired for FAILURE.

    And such rhetoric are usually uttered by the same ARF-hating people that escaped from Armenia in the 90’s searching better kabob pastures. Horrifically, even traditional diaspora spew such nonsense as well, these are the ones amongst us trying to “sound smart”.

    This inept fool of a “Prime Minister” is actually just the amplifier of the destruction caused by the previous three crooks. For that reason, Kocharoghloo wouldn’t have made a shred of difference if he had taken the seat. What was his ‘campaign promise’ anyway, was there even one? No, he did not campaign promising to get Artsakh back or anything of that nature. Just as a typical Soviet Apparatchik remnant he tries to use the same old tired tactic of trying to buy votes. What’s the use of bringing him in if didn’t even *TRY* to convince people that he will reverse all the damage?

    I said it the first time I heard about the treachery of the Artsakh “war” that tried to pass off and the game they played against the Armenian people when they colluded to hand Artsakh away: all four Scoundrels of Armenia need to be placed against a wall and given a military farewell in the center of Yerevan – and that’s the first step in cleaning up the country. If not, then be happy with what you got, an inept, third-rate “journalist” calling himself “Prime minister”, who looks and screams like a mouse.

  4. Shame, all the artsakh soldiers and volunteers from lebanon, syria, US and from other parts of the world fought and sacrificed 30 years ago to make Artsakh and Armenia safe for all Armenians – and this 2nd rate journalist posing as our leader gives most of it all back and apparently he hasn’t finished. Just shame.

  5. Best of luck to Armenians. Let’s see how he turns the military around. He won’t be buying anymore ‘10% Iskander missiles’ that’s for sure… Wouldn’t be suprised if he purchases submarines for Armenia.

  6. The Artsakh war ended with our total defeat NOT last November 09, 2020, but on June 21, 2021. On that day, we Armenians collectively said to the world that we are a defeated nation, Artsakh no longer belong to us, and we deserve all our losses in lives and land. On that day, we became the sole owners of our historic and embarrassing defeat. Henceforth, no more blaming Russians, no more blaming Westerners, no more blaming even Turks/Azeris for our people’s collective incompetence, political illiteracy, self-hate, shortsightedness, emotional handicaps and suicidal behavior. We clearly had a chance to put into power someone who is Putin’s friend – in order to at least derive some benefit from the pathetic situation we are in – we instead chose to put into power someone who is essentially Putin’s hostage. We could have put into power men like Robert Kocharyan, Karen Karapetyan, Ara Abrahamyan and Vazgen Manukyan into power to guide Armenia out of its current darkness, we chose to keep in power a Western financed, pro-Turkish government who who does not see Artsakh as Armenian land. Congratulations. God bless “democracy” and “people power”. Henceforth, Moscow will decide Armenia’s future will little if any input from Yerevan. Good for them…

  7. As soon as Nikol showed his face back in 2018, I knew we were going to suffer a disaster in Artsakh. I am not a psychic. I just have a good understanding of the region’s geopolitics. After all, the same had happened in Azerbaijan in 1992, with Elchibey. The same had happened in Georgia in 2008, with Saakashvili. The same had happened in Ukraine in 2014, with their Maidan. In all those cases, a pro-Western and a pro-Turkish government came into power, just like in Yerevan, and Russia punished them severely. So, anyone that at any point wanted to rid Armenia of its so-called “oligarchs” and/or westernize Armenian society, had a hand in what happened last autumn. In a nutshell: Nikol is what you all deserve. Armenians have always been Armenia’s worst enemy.

  8. Vasak siwni has returned in the form of this incompetent journalist – do the people who allowed this to happen have so little foresight or love of their country?

  9. Pashinyan should never have been allowed to run a country that had been in a state of war with the enemy for the last thirty years. What does Pashniyan, a former journalist, know about running a country let alone a country that is in a state of war? We need a military leader or someone close to the military who understands the security concerns and requirements of the country. How is someone like Pashinyan detached from reality, and someone with no military and strategic as well as no foreign policy experience, going to defend and protect a country blockaded on both sides by terrorist NATO member Turkey and artificial criminal Azerbaijan? He should have no business in running a country. People who elected him did so either because they were politically ignorant or their self-interests were much more important than the future of the country.

    If you watch various pre-election video clips of people being asked who they will vote for and why you will realize that those who said they would vote for Pashinyan based their decisions primarily on three things: Increases in salaries and pensions, improvements in roads and repairs, and freedom of expression. The country just went through a preplanned imposed terroristic war, a second attempted genocide, by combined forces of criminal artificial Azerbaijan, genocidal fascist terrorist Turkey, imported fatherless Islamist Jihadist terrorists from Syria, Islamo-fascist Pakistan and hypocritical and morally-bankrupt state of Israel, and those who voted for Pashinyan are concerned about their salaries, pensions and freedom of speech! What else did you expect from such voters?

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