Elections June 20 2021 Armenia
Armenia’s June 2021 Parliamentary Election: The Essential Primer

Three years after the Velvet Revolution stopped Serzh Sargsyan from circumventing his two-term limit, Armenian voters will head to the polls yet again. The June 20, 2021 snap parliamentary election will be the third one in the past five years.

After months of protests following Armenia’s defeat in the 2020 Artsakh War and the signing of the November 9, 2020 trilateral agreement that ended the war, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced on March 18 that an early election would be held on June 20. The Homeland Salvation Movement, led chiefly by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, Republican Party of Armenia and Prosperous Armenia Party, had been calling for the resignation of the Prime Minister and the handover of power to an executive body headed by former Prime Minister Vazgen Manukyan. After months of protests and rallies, on April 25, Pashinyan officially tendered his formal resignation to trigger the process to hold an early parliamentary election, in which he would seek re-election. He would continue to hold the office of Prime Minister in an acting capacity until the election takes place. After the move, the Parliament did not vote in a new PM after two attempts over a two week period, as the Constitution requires. After the second failed attempt on May 10, the Parliament was officially dissolved and President Armen Sarkissian set the official election date on June 20.

A record number of 26 political parties and alliances of parties have registered with the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), including those led by Armenia’s first and second Presidents Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Robert Kocharyan, respectively. [Third President Serzh Sargsyan is not among the contestants but his Republican Party of Armenia will participate as part of a newly-formed alliance.] For comparison, in the December 9, 2018 parliamentary election, there were 11 parties and alliances of parties participating. The voter turnout was 48.6%, 11% less than during the April 2017 parliamentary election (60.86%). In order to secure seats in Parliament, political parties will have to pass a minimum 5% threshold, while alliances will be subject to a minimum 7% threshold.

According to the CEC, there are 2,581,093 eligible voters in the Republic of Armenia and 2,008 electoral precincts throughout the country. The regulated campaign period will officially kick off on June 7 and run until June 18. In total, there are 2,621 candidates registered for a minimum 105 seats in Parliament. A little over 36% of the registered candidates are female. Pan-Armenian National Statehood Party has the largest proportion of female candidates with 43.9%, while Armenia Alliance has the least with 30.7%.

Following the 2018 snap parliamentary election, a parliamentary working group was established to  amend the Electoral Code. Although the final bill was adopted before the parliament was dissolved, the only change that will be in force before the June 20 parliamentary election is the elimination of the ratingayin open list component, where voters were able to choose a specific candidate lower down on a party’s list. After January 1, 2022, the threshold that parties need to secure in order to be represented in Parliament will be reduced from 5% to 4%, while the threshold for alliances will be increased from the current 7% to 8%, but these new limits will not apply for the coming election.

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Article by Lusine Sargsyan, Harout Manougian
Source: EVN Report

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