Armenia's National Assembly failed to pass the government-proposed amendments to the electoral code at the first reading yesterday.
As many as 54 MPs voted for the bill and 3 voted against it, while to pass the amendments at least 63 voted were needed.
Most of the Republican Party (RPA) faction MPs did not attend the voting in an apparent boycott.
The parliamentary majority of Armenia spares no efforts to pursue a policy of sabotage, Acting Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan said in a Facebook live broadcast.
"The amendments of the Electoral Code proposed by the Government have been wrecked. I want to say that the amendments were aimed for making the Electoral Code more democratic, simple and clear," Pashinyan noted. "The parliamentary majority and their supporters spare no efforts to pursue a policy of sabotage. This was evident in the past few days. They hope that they will be able to turn the early parliamentary elections into revenge," News.am cited the Armenian PM as saying.
Pashinyan stressed that if the early elections take place with the current Electoral Code, nothing will change, since the victory of the people is inevitable.
Earlier this day members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation/Dashnaktsutiun the party members said they have decided to run in the snap parliamentary elections, thought they were opposed to the amendments proposed in a hurry.
Tsarukyan and Yelk blocs said that they are ready to run in the snap elections either under the present electoral code or under the amended code.
Nikol Pashinyan resigned as prime minister on October 16. This means that the deadline for nominating candidates is October 23, and a special session will be convened on October 24.
Pashinyan resigned for dismissing the National Assembly and conducting snap parliamentary elections in mid-December to put an end to the absurd and dangerous situation when the prime minister and executive instructions are supported by the country’s population, while the parliament continues operating amid widespread disaffection, ARKA recalls.
Ex-mayor of Yerevan Vahagn Khachatryan, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that indeed, the Republican Party of Armenia may prevent the adaption of the new Electoral Code. "There is information that an extraordinary meeting of the National Assembly will be devoted to another attempt to adopt the amendments, and it will be possible only if the meeting is attended by all other deputies and at least some Republicans. I understand that the Republicans don’t want to give up, but even if they derail the electoral reform, they won’t get a seat in the new parliament," he said.
"Moreover, such actions of the Republicans only weaken their position. Politically it can be understood that they want to prove once again that they have an authority in parliament. But the population think that the Republicans just want to remain in power. If a few days ago they had a chance to get 3-4% of the vote, which would allow them to enter the parliament as the fourth mandatory party under the new code, now they have lost this opportunity and are unlikely to remain in the parliament,” Vahagn Khachatryan said.
Former head of the Central Bank of Armenia Bagrat Asatryan, in turn, agreed that blocking amendments to the Electoral Code is the last thing Republicans can do. “Nobody doubts that the election will take place, the only question is whether it will be held under the new legislation or not. The RPA may boycott all the meeting, but one shouldn’t see it as a tragedy. I think the parliament will be temporary in this case, aimed at changing the Constitution, improving electoral legislation, restoring the rule of law and fighting corruption. After this, the transitional parliament will open the way for new elections that will be much better," he said.
"Now the entire electoral scheme is designed to reproduce the current government at the expense of administrative resources and money. It is clear that neither people with money nor criminals will follow the non-existent force in the person of the Republican Party now. Republicans have become the past, they must realize that they need leave for Armenia to move forward," Bagrat Asatryan urged.
"The majority in the parliament under any Electoral Code will be received by the force headed by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. At the same time, the Pashinyan team's proposals are quite reasonable: the amendments aim to have at least 4 forces present in the parliament. And the current opposition benefits the most from it - but instead it boycotts the adoption of the amendments," the former head of the Armenian Central Bank concluded.