06/08/2021, 10.26
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Yerevan, parliamentary election campaign underway

by Vladimir Rozanskij

26 political parties participate, divided into four coalitions and 22 independent parties. Political crisis triggered by the 2020 defeat in Nagorno Karabakh against the Azeris. A government of national unity proposed. The risk of civil war.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - After long disputes and diatribes, the campaign for early parliamentary elections, which will be held on June 20, began in Armenia on 7 June.

26 political parties will participate, divided into four coalitions and 22 independent parties. All previous political leaders, including current interim prime minister Nikol Pašinyan, will take part in the competition.

The first president of independent post-Soviet Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, leads the party list of the Armenian National Congress; the second president Roberto Kočaryan heads the "Ayastan" coalition (ancient name of Armenia).

Pašinyan himself presents himself with the "Civil Agreement" party. Serž Sargsyan is not included in the electoral lists, but the Republican Party he leads is in the coalition “I have dignity”: the third president of the country is very active in the election campaign.

All parties and former presidents have clashed in the past on the issue of the post-Soviet legacy: Petrosyan was the secretary of the Communist Party in Armenia at the time of the collapse of the USSR, and his opponents demanded greater independence from Russia, claiming an autonomous role in the political and military conflicts of the Caucasus, especially with the annexation of Nagorno Karabakh.

Pašinyan sought the middle ground, defending national independence and seeking a new international role for the country. He is e-entering the fray after the “velvet revolution” of 2019 and the defeat in Nagorno Karabakh in 2020, very contradictory events. However, he does not lose hope of being re-elected.

On the opening day of the campaign he addressed the Armenian citizens with an official speech: “Over the years we have suffered a lot for our homeland”. Pašinyan observes that "they want to convince you to go back, that you have to be submissive in your homeland, or we will lose it, but I want to convince you otherwise".

According to the outgoing premier, when he led the protest that led to the change of regime, "our homeland was like a car teetering on the edge of an abyss, which we tried to drive without steering wheel or wheels, without brakes or engine". By relaunching hope in the future of Armenia, Pašinyan is trying to present a vision of a new rebirth after the disasters of war and Covid-19: "A future exists, and we are creating it today".

Among the many opposing parties, referring to the tragedies of past years, there is also a party that invokes social harmony and the formation of a government of national unity: it is "Illuminated Armenia", led by Edmon Marukyan. In his opinion, if the elections re-propose the all-out clashes of recent years and months, the situation in the country could degenerate into a kind of civil war.

In his campaign launch press conference, Marukyan noted that "according to all the polls, neither the ruling party nor the group led by Kočaryan have a real chance of obtaining a majority". 45% of the voters still seem uncertain about the vote, therefore "we need a force that does not present itself as an enemy of the other, to make a government all together for at least 3-5 years".

If a stable formula of government is not found, according to all observers, the greatest risk is that the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, which already occupy various areas of the national territory, will advance much deeper, endangering the independence of Armenia itself.

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