*

upload_article_image

Armenia PM party wins snap parliamentary election

Results released Monday showed the party of Armenia’s acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan won the snap parliamentary elections he called to ease anger over a peace deal he signed with Azerbaijan.

With all precincts counted, Pashinyan’s Civil Contract party won 53.9% of the vote and former President Robert Kocharyan’s bloc was a distant second place with about 21%, the election commission said Monday.

A bloc affiliated with another former president came third with 5.2%, and another party had nearly 4%. Blocs need 7% to get into parliament, however, Armenia's laws allow a third party or bloc to get seats if only two political forces pass the threshold to get into parliament.

Pashinyan called the early election after months of protests demanding his resignation because of the peace deal that he signed to end six weeks of fighting with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The agreement saw Azerbaijan reclaim control over large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas that had been held by Armenian forces for more than a quarter-century. Thousands of Armenians took to the streets in the capital of Yerevan to protest the deal as a betrayal of national interests.

Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but had been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by the government in Yerevan since a separatist war ended in 1994, leaving the region and substantial surrounding territory in Armenian hands.

Hostilities flared in late September 2020, and the Azerbaijani military pushed deep into Nagorno-Karabakh and nearby areas in six weeks of fighting involving heavy artillery and drones that killed more than 6,000 people.

Sunday’s ballot involved 21 political parties and four electoral blocs.