Voters in Armenia will head to the polls on December 9, 2018 to cast their ballot in snap parliamentary elections following the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on October 16. Pashinyan’s resignation was meant to force pre-term elections in a bid to get the country moving forward following an extraordinary series of events in April-May of this year that came to be known as the Velvet Revolution. Those events triggered the resignation of Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan on April 23, leading to a political crisis, unprecedented in Armenia’s 27 years of independence. After massive protests across the country, the Republican Party-dominated parliament eventually elected Nikol Pashinyan as prime minister on May 8.
After forming his government, Pashinyan made it clear in his government’s program that he would lead the country to early elections to ensure that parliament was a “reflection of the people’s will.” That being said, without a majority or a consensus in parliament, Pashinyan’s government would not have been able to function, pass legislation and implement policies without the support of parliamentary political forces. Although it was expected that early elections would be held in the spring of 2019, political machinations in early October by the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) with the support of the Prosperous Party of Armenia (PAP) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) to make amendments in the procedural regulations of the National Assembly (that would stall Pashinyan’s bid to call early elections), led to a large protest in front of parliament, the sacking of several ministers from the PAP and ARF and Pashinyan’s early resignation.
Upon his election as Prime Minister on May 8, Nikol Pashinyan also promised that the Electoral Code would be amended to allow for a fair race. While two special commissions were set up to make amendments to the Electoral Code (PM’s Special Commission on Electoral Reform and Parliamentary Working Group on Electoral Reform), the bill, when presented to parliament was rejected. Therefore, citizens will be going to the polls under the old Electoral Code, which foresees that each political party or bloc taking part in the elections will have one national electoral list of candidates, including one district electoral list for each district (up to 15 candidates in each district electoral list depending on population rates). In order to secure seats in parliament, political parties will have to pass a minimum five percent threshold and blocs will require a minimum seven percent threshold. There are 13 electoral districts - four in the capital Yerevan and nine covering the rest of the country.
The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) formally opened an election observation mission in Armenia to monitor the snap elections following an official invitation from the country’s authorities. The mission is led by Ambassador Urszula Gacek and consists of a core team of 13 election experts, based in Yerevan, and 24 long-term observers to be deployed in teams of two across the country. ODIHR has also requested that OSCE participating States provide 250 short-term observers to monitor proceedings on Election Day.
In the April 2, 2017 parliamentary election, there were five political parties and four coalition of parties (blocs/alliances) participating; there was a 60.86 percent turnout for that vote.
The campaign officially kicks off on November 26 and runs until December 7.
1452 candidates will run for a minimum of 101-seats in parliament.
Republican Party of Armenia- N1
"If You Are Concerned, Vote for the Republican Party" (123 candidates)
1. Vigen Sargsyan (RPA)
Former defense minister (2016-18); From 2000-03, Sargsyan served in the Armenian Armed Forces and as adviser to the Minister of Defence. Lectured at the American University of Armenia (2001-11). In 2009, appointed as Deputy Head of Presidential Administration for Serzh Sargsyan.
2. Arpine Hovhannisyan Arpine (RPA) - MP, Deputy Speaker of Parliament
Served as an aid to the Chief of Staff of Armenia’s President (2008). Adviser to the Speaker of Parliament (2008-11). Elected to parliament in 2012; Member of the Standing Committee on State and Legal Affairs of the National Assembly. Appointed as Minister of Justice in September, 2015 and re-appointed in 2016. Member of the RPA Executive Body; in 2017 was re-elected to parliament; May 19, 2017: Elected Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
5. Armen Ashotyan (RPA) - Member of Parliament
Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia from 2009-16. First elected to parliament in 2005 by the proportional electoral system for RPA. Has served on a number of parliamentary committees including Social Affairs, Health Care and Environment; European Integration and Chair of the Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture and Youth. Elected to parliament in April 2017 by the RPA national electoral list.
6. Eduard Sharmazanov (RPA) - MP, Deputy Speaker of Parliament
Since 2011, Sharmazanov has served as the Deputy Speaker of Parliament; official spokesperson of the RPA. First elected to parliament in 2007 by proportional system from the Republican Party of Armenia. In 2005-07, he served as an aid to the Prime Minister. Re-elected to parliament in April 2017 on the RPA ticket.
9. Menua Harutyunyan (non-partisan)
Political scientist, advisor to the Republican Party of Armenia. Slaq.am
10. Artashes Geghamyan (National Unity Party) - Member of Parliament
From 1995-99, served as a member of parliament for the electoral district N7. From 1999-2003 served a second term as an MP (from the proportional list of the Law and Unity Alliance), where he served on the Standing Committee on Foreign Relations and was the leader of the Law and Unity Faction. Geghamyan was a candidate in the 2003 presidential election. From 2003-07, was a member of parliament (proportional electoral system, NU faction.) Head of the NU faction. Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, member of the RA delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, member of the International Parliamentary Organization, “Parliamentarians for Global Actions.” May 6, 2012, he was elected as a member of parliament from the proportional electoral system from the Republican Party of Armenia. Geghamyan was re-elected to parliament in April 2017 by the RPA national electoral list.
Citizen's Decision - N2
"The Future is Yours" (80 candidates)
3. Ruzanna Torozyan
Torozyan is the Executive Director of Women’s Development “Resource Center” Foundation. She has 15 years of experience in civil society organizations and political projects as well as working with women in communities. Since 2014 is the President of WINNET Armenia Association of Women Resource Centers, which is an umbrella organization for seven women resource centers all over Armenia and supports women’s empowerment.
4. Areg Tadevosyan
Tadevosyan is the Vice President of the International Center for Intercultural Research, Learning and Dialogue (ICIRLD), youth worker and freelance trainer, with more than 12 years of experience in NGO sector. From 2002-04 worked as educational advisor at “All-Armenian International Youth Center”. He was one of the authors and editors of the National Youth Report of Armenia, and has also worked as a trainer and facilitator in a couple of large-scale international youth projects organized by various international organizations.
5. Hayk Sahakyan
Sahakyan is a graduate of the Yerevan State University, Faculty of International Relations. Since 2001 works in the NGO sector as a sociological researcher and education program coordinator. Sahakyan also has experience in the field of electronic media. He has been an active participant of Teghut, Mashtots Park, Electric Yerevan, Amulsar civic society movements as well as the recent Armenian Velvet Revolution. In February 2014 was in Kiev to study the characteristics of Maidan movement.
10. Karen Harutyunyan
Harutyunyan has over ten years of experience in building, maintaining, and troubleshooting computer and network systems. Since 2018, he works at ServiceTitan as a Senior Software Engineer. Prior to that worked at EPAM Systems (2016-18), at BetConstruct as Software Engineer (2014-16) and at Global Credit UCO as Senior System/Network Administrator (2010-13).
Armenian Revolutionary Federation - N3
"Faithful to the Soil and the Armenian" (152 candidates)
2. Arsen Hambardzumyan (ARF)
Representative of the ARF Supreme Body. Hambardzumyan has been a member of the ARF since 1992. From 1999-2005, he was a chief specialist of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation faction in parliament. In June 2008, Hambardzumyan was appointed Minister of Labor and Social Affairs and was dismissed from the post on May 12, 2009.
7. Nune Petrosyan (ARF)
Member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation since 1997. Participated in the 2017 parliamentary elections as part ARF’s proportional list but was not elected as a Deputy. A doctor, Petrosyan is the Director of the Children's Specialized Commission of Medical and Social Expertise at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs since 2016.
8. Ishkhan Saghatelyan (ARF)
Member of ARF Supreme Body since 2016. Saghatelyan was the Governor of Gegharkunik region from June of 2018 to October of the same year. In 2016 worked as the advisor to the Minister of Nature Protection; from 2009-12 worked as an assistant to a Member of Parliament. He is also the founder of “Imega Service” LLC and since 2010 is the founding-director of “Navasar Investment” Company.
9. Ashot Simonyan (ARF)
From 2017-May 2018 served as the Governor of Aragatsotn Region. Based on the decision of the Government was appointed to the same post on June of 2018 and resigned again on October of the same year.
10. Suren Manukyan (ARF) - Member of Parliament
Member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation since 2003. On April 2, 2017 was elected to parliament from the territorial electoral list of electoral district #13 of the ARF. Prior to that (2015-17) was the Director of the “Ijevan” branch of the “ArmForest” SNTO (State Non-trade Organization), Deputy Head of the Municipality of Ijevan (2011-15), a member of the Municipal Council of Ijevan (2009), and a credit specialist at “Ijevan” branch of Converse Bank (2008-10).
My Step Coalition - N4
"Happy Individual, Caring Society and Powerful State" (181 candidates)
The results of those elections and ensuing protests led to the tragic events of March 1, when 10 people were killed after security forces cracked down on peaceful protesters. Pashinyan was charged with organizing mass disorder and went into hiding for several months. On July 1, 2009, he re-emerged and surrendered to law enforcement. He was subsequently sentenced to seven years imprisonment but later released in 2011 as part of a general amnesty. He was elected to parliament in 2012 by the proportional list of the Armenian National Congress Alliance. From 2012-13, he was the Chair of the parliament’s Ethics Committee. He founded the Civil Contract public-political association in 2013, which later became the Civil Contract Party. In April 2017, he was elected to parliament by the electoral list of the Yelq Bloc (comprised of Civil Contract, Bright Armenia and Republic Parties). From May 2017, he was the leader of the Yelq parliamentary faction. On March 31, 2018 he initiated and led the My Step movement from Gyumri, which resulted in the Velvet Revolution. Since May 8, 2018, he is the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.
8. Lilit Makunts - Acting RA Minister of CultureLecturer at the Russian-Armenian University since 2005.Worked as a contract specialist in the American Peace Corps (since 2016). In February, 2018 became the head of the Russian-Armenian University’s Department of International Cooperation. Appointed as Minister of Culture on May 12, 2018.
9. Suren Papikyan - Acting Minister of Territorial Administration and Development
Yelq Bloc faction expert in the Yerevan City Council (2017); April 2, 2017, nominated as a candidate for parliamentary elections from the Yelq Bloc in constituency N9 in Lori Marz; Starting on March 31, 2018, with a group of activists, he initiated the My Step movement, which resulted in the Velvet Revolution in Armenia. Appointed as Minister of Territorial Administration and Development on May 11, 2018.
10. Zara Batoyan - Deputy Minister of Labor & Social Affairs
Elected to Yerevan City Council in 2017; longtime advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
Bright Armenia Party - N5
"Brighten Armenia with knowledge, will and work" (152 candidates)
1. Edmon Marukyan - Member of Parliament
Lawyer and founder of the Bright Armenia party. From 2002-04 was the Head of the Law Department of the Media Public Organization NGO “Media Group.” From 2007-12, was a lawyer at Populeks LLC and Center for Protection and Promotion of Interests. Since 2002, is a Member of the International Network of Youth Movements for Human Rights. In 2005, Marukyan was a member of the public observation group carrying out monitoring in prisons. He is also the founding member of the International Organization Youth Network for Education of Human Rights and one of the founders of the Human Rights NGO Center for Strategic Proceedings.
From 2012-17, he was a Member of the National Assembly (electoral district N30), Member of the Standing Committee on State and Legal Affairs of the National Assembly, Member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Relations of the National Assembly. In April 2, 2017 was elected to parliament from the national electoral list of the Yelq Bloc.
2. Mane Tandilyan
Tandilyan graduated from the faculty of history at the Armenian State Pedagogical University, and has a Masters of Business Administration from the American University of Armenia. She has worked as a chief accountant in several organizations including Hovnanian International, Mentor Graphics Development Services, was the Deputy Financial Director of Synopsis Armenia from 2009-17 and since 2016 is a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). She was active in the “Dem Em” Movement in 2014 that sought to pass a new law privatizing the country’s pension system. In 2017, she was elected to Armenia’s parliament representing the Yelq Bloc. She is the Vice President of the Bright Armenia party.
3. Arman Babajanyan
Editor of the Zhamanak daily and founder, editor of Start Media Center (www.1in.am).
4. Gevorg Gorgisyan - Member of Parliament
Secretary of the Yelq Bloc. Since 2007, Gorgisyan worked as a programmer and site administrator in a number of companies including Armproject, Stream Tech, Altakod, and IAM Cloud. In 2015, he was a member of the coordinating group of the Bright Armenia initiative, and that same year was elected a member of the council of the Bright Armenia party. In April 2, 2017, he was elected to parliament from the territorial electoral list of the electoral district N2 of the Yelq Bloc.
5. Taron Simonyan
Lecturer at the French University of Armenia and Founding Partner, General Director of ELL Partnership Law Firm. From 2012-16 was the Director of International and Comparative Law Center.
6. Arkadi Khachatryan (non-partisan)
Lecturer at Yerevan State University since 2012. From 2003-15, worked at the Presidential administration as the Deputy Head of the Department of Economics, Deputy Head of the Department of Expertise and Analysis. Khachatryan is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Office of Financial System Mediator (since 2016), and a board member at the Central Bank of Armenia and adviser to the President of the Central Bank (since 2015).
7. Ani Samsonyan - Member of Yerevan Council of Elders
Press Secretary of Bright Armenia and a member of Luys faction at Yerevan City Council. Prior to being elected to Yerevan City Council, Samsonyan worked as a researcher at the Hovhannes Sharambeyan Folk Art Center (2010-12), journalist at Armnews TV (2012-13), and a coordinator at HayNews Press Club (2013-14). She is the press secretary of Bright Armenia Party.
8. Harutyun Babayan
Founder and co-owner of VHH LLC. Since 2014, is involved in small and medium businesses as a marketing and logistics consultant for winemaking and canned food producing companies. From 2011-13, was the Director of Import, Logistics and Sales Department at Food Leader Company. From 2010-11, was the Head of Procurement and Logistics Department at Natfood Company.
9. Arman Eghiazaryan - Member of Vanadzor City Council
Co-founder and president of the Lori Young Economists’ Association NGO since 2009. From 2016, is a member of Vanadzor City Council, as part of the Bright Armenia Party. Since 2018, he is a board member of Bright Armenia as well as the chairman of the Lori regional council. From 2002-15, Eghiazaryan worked in several international grant projects, as a Project Manager and Project Coordinator. Since 2009, is the Head of Vanadzor Economic Development Center project within the framework of the “Cities’ Network South Caucasus” Vanadzor-Regen (GIZ) Cooperation.
10. Anna Kostanyan
From 2015-17, Kostanyan was the secretary of Bright Armenia Party and since 2017 is supervisor of the Party. She is also the Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator at Apricot Project since 2017. From 2005-14 worked as a translator in different companies.
Christian-Democrat Rebirth Party - N6
"Alternative, Yes - Opposition, No" (82 candidates)
1. Levon Shirinyan
Shirinyan is a political scientist and philosopher. From 1999-2000 worked at the Presidential administration as Senior Foreign Policy Officer. Since 2007 works at the Armenian State Pedagogical University as a lecturer at the Department of Political Science and History.
2. Mariam Manukyan
Manukyan is the founding director at GMG Media Group since 2009 and the founding director at the Council for International Business Relations Support. She is the author and organizer of annual festivals including “Countries under the Same Roof” and “Dream City.” Prior to that Manukyan was the Head of Advertising Department at ArmNews TV, a radio host at the Armenian Online Radio Stations, and Program Producer at Yerkir Media TV.
3. Gevorg Hovsepyan, 4. Hayk Sukiasyan, 5. Levon Tumanyan
National Progress Party - N7
"New Situation, New Solutions" (83 candidates)
1. Lusine Haroyan - sociologist, psychologist ,
2. Samvel Melikyan - Lawyer
3. Aram Manukyan - Engineer,
4. Mane Babayan - Engineer,
5. Hrayr Aghinyan - Economist,
6. Hayk Paytyan - Historian, lecturer
7. Aghavni Ohanyan - Tourism Industry,
8. Vigen Movsisyan - Engineer
9. Vardan Arakelyan - Programmer,
10. Hasmik Aghinyan - Doctor
Menq Alliance (Republic and Free Democrats Parties) - N8
"Armenia First" (132 candidates)
2. Khachatur Qoqobelyan (Free Democrats Party)
Qoqobelyan is an Armenian politician and founder of the Free Democrats Party. From 2007-12 was a member of parliament. From 2002-10 was the deputy chairman of the board of the Pan-Armenian National Movement Party.
3. Angela Khachatryan (Free Democrats Party)
Khachatryan is the Deputy Chair of Free Democrats Party. In April 2017 parliamentary elections she was nominated in the party’s national electoral list.
4. Artak Zeynalyan (Republic Party) - Minister of Justice
Zeynalyan is the current Minister of Justice. He was elected to Armenia’s parliament in 2017 on the Yelq Bloc ticket, representing the Republic Party. Zeynalyan graduated from Yerevan State Medical University and did his residency at the National Institute of Health in 1999. He later studied at the Academy of Management and in 2006 graduated from the Law Faculty of the Gladzor Management University. From 1998-2001, he served as Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Health, he has headed the Committees for Humanitarian Aid adjunct to the Government of Armenia: the Republican Committee on Health and the Republican Committee for the reassessment of medical supplies received by humanitarian means. For many years, Zeynalyan was a human rights defender: member of the Human Rights NGO Tanik (Roof), member of the Public Council for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, member of the Human Rights NGO Lawyers Against Torture, Chairman-founder of the Human Rights NGO Rule of Law. He is a founding member of the Yerkrapah Union of Volunteers and a founding member of the Republic Party. Zeynalyan volunteered in the Artsakh Liberation War with the Nikol Duman Yegrapah division. He was wounded in 1992 and lost a leg.