Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan declared victory in the legislative elections held on Sunday, after his party came to the fore, according to partial results rejected by his opponent, Robert Kocharian, who said that it was marred by fraud.
“We know that we have achieved a convincing victory in the elections and that we will have a convincing majority in parliament,” Pashinyan said in a speech broadcast live on his Facebook page. “The people have given us a mandate (…) and we must use it immediately,” he added.
“The Armenian people gave the mandate to our party to rule the country, and it was for me personally to lead it as head of government,” Pashinyan added.
But Kocharian’s party objected to these partial results, and said in a statement that there were “hundreds of signals from polling stations attesting to organized and planned fraud,” considering this “a serious cause of mistrust,” stressing that it would not “recognize” the results until the results were considered. “Violations”.
Pashinyan, 46, a former journalist who became prime minister in 2018 after a peaceful revolution against the old corrupt elites, is competing with his opponent Kocharyan, 66, the former president who accuses his rival of incompetence and presents himself as an experienced leader.
And if his party does not win a majority, Pashinyan may lose his position after his record popularity collapsed after he was accused of defeat in the war against Azerbaijan in the fall of 2020.
This defeat – which was considered a national humiliation – sparked a political crisis in Armenia, forcing Pashinyan to call these early elections in the hope of easing tension and strengthening his legitimacy.
Despite the reforms made by Pashinyan, many of his supporters abandoned him after the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, and moved to the ranks of his opponent, despite his association with the old elites accused of looting the country.
After receiving more than 70% of the votes in the 2018 legislative elections, Pashinyan is currently seeking 60%, and there are 3 other parties that may be able to enter parliament.
And last Friday, Kocharian told his supporters, “Unlike the current political administration, we are a team that has experience, knowledge, strength and will,” warning against attempts to “steal their votes.”
Kocharian led Armenia from 1998 to 2008, and his critics suspect him of corruption.
The election campaign showed a major split between the two camps, which experts expect will lead to protests and possibly violence after the elections.
The OSCE observers tasked with monitoring the transparency of the vote are due to present their initial report on Monday.
About 2.6 million Armenian voters were called to vote to choose more than 100 deputies for a 5-year term.