Armenia: pre-election landscape

Susanna Petrosyan, Yerevan. Exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza
Armenia: pre-election landscape

Central Electoral Commission of Armenia registered nine parties and two blocs to participate in the early parliamentary elections on December 9th. My Step, the bloc headed by the leader of the Velvet Revolution, Nikol Pashinyan; the Republican Party of Armenia, the former ruling party of the country; Prosperous Armenia; We, the alliance consisted of two small parties – Republic and Free Democrats; Dashnakcutyun; Bright Armenia and Rule of Law; as well as the party established ahead of the elections, Sasun Valiants.

Experts believe Dashnakcutyun and Rule of Law have small chances. Probably, the reason for that is their tearing between the authorities and the opposition. The former partner of Pashinyan in the Exit bloc, Bright Armenia party, has no high chances as well. In addition, recently founded and unknown parties remain unpopular.

Nobody doubts in My Step’s win as it is headed by the acting Premier Nikol Pashinyan who is still very popular. According to a political consultant Armen Badalyan, criticism of the proportional list of My Step won’t move beyond the media discussions as voters don’t care about the list. The Armenian society is still under spell of revolution euphoria which will determine results of the upcoming elections. By the way, the elections are thought to be the fairest in the Armenian contemporary history.

At the same time, Pashinyan’s HR policy is met with raised eyebrows. A low professional level of some members of Pashinyan’s political team is obvious. According to analysts, it will be the HR policy problem that will cause receiving by My Step less votes in the December elections than in the elections to the Yerevan Council of Elders on September 23rd (81.6%).

Prosperous Armenia (PPA) is up for the second place in the parliamentary elections, as it has proved to be a consistent supporter of the revolution. The party is distinguished by a high level of political civility and has its own votership. However, provided post-revolution inertia, PPA is unlikely to get as many votes this time as in the elections on April 2nd, 2017. The party had 31 mandates of 105 in the previous parliament.

As for the third place, some experts believe that it will be taken by Bright Armenia; others bet on the Republican Party (RPA), considering its experience and intellectual potential. At the moment, RPA is outstandingly unpopular. Moreover, the leader of the party is still the former president Serzh Sargsyan who is unacceptable for the society. On the other hand, probably the highly experienced political party intends to use resources and schemes which only they know.

In case of flawless victory of Nikola Pashinyan’s team, the problem of strong parliamentary opposition raises. Experts think that the real opposition to the new authorities will exist beyond the parliament. It may lead to a decrease of the government’s efficiency. Given all these factors, analysts predict the parliament will live short life – a year or two.

After the win in the parliamentary elections, full responsibility for processes taking place in the country rests with Pashinyan and his political team. And they will have no one to blame for any mistakes.