Armenia PM wins majority in polls despite anger over war

The Nation  |  Jun 22, 2021

YEREVAN   -  Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Monday scored a decisive victory in snap parliamentary elections, bolstering his rule after months of discontent and protests following a historic military defeat to Azerbaijan.

Pashinyan’s Civil Contract party swept to an easy victory with almost 54 percent of the vote, overcoming anger at his handling of the devastating fight for control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and securing a strong majority.

“The people of Armenia gave our Civil Contract party a mandate to lead the country and personally to me to lead the country as prime minister,” Pashinyan announced in the early hours of Monday. The embattled prime minister announced the gamble of snap polls earlier in the year, when protests against his rule were coming to a head, and after Pashinyan claimed he had fended off a coup attempt from military leaders.

Austria beat Ukraine 1-0 to qualify for EURO 2020 last 16  Protests against Pashinyan’s rule and calls from the opposition for him to stand down began in November last year when he signed an unpopular peace deal mediated by Moscow to end fighting with Armenia’s long-standing enemy Azerbaijan.

 The two countries fought a vicious six-week war last year which claimed some 6,500 lives.  In the runup to the polls, Pashinyan said Armenia had lost 3,705 people in the war, whose conclusion saw him hand over large areas of land to Azerbaijan.  Pashinyan on Monday morning visited a military cemetery kneeling and laying flowers at the graves of soldiers.

 Sunday’s vote was seen as a two-horse race, with both Pashinyan, 46, and his main rival -- former president Robert Kocharyan, 66 -- drawing massive crowds in the run-up to the polls.  Kocharyan, whose alliance lagged behind with 21 percent, alleged foul play.  “Hundreds of signals from polling stations testifying to organised and planned falsifications serve as a serious reason for lack of trust” in the results, his bloc said in a statement.   It said it would not recognise results until “violations” were studied.

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