One of the hottest issues of domestic politics in Armenia is the parliamentary snap elections. The position of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and the “Yelq” faction is clear: parliamentary snap elections should be held as soon as possible. This opinion is also supported by the extra-parliamentary forces and parties.
But opponents argue that time is needed to prepare for the elections with new “game rules” after reforming the electoral legislation. However, in reality, the rules of the game have long been known and fixed in the government program.
The parliamentary “Tsarukyan” bloc and “ARF Dashnaktsutstyun” do not oppose snap elections. They voted in favor of the government program on June 7, agreeing to the need to hold snap elections.
The dates of holding elections are important for the PAP and the ARF. The latter want to hold the elections in spring rather than December, as Pashinyan proposes, giving the parties a chance to prepare for them.
In the case of the Republican Party, different positions have been voiced. First, the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) announced that there is no need for snap elections in Armenia. After a while, when Pashinyan announced about his intention to meet with the leaders of the factions, Vahram Baghdasaryan announced that he was going to discuss issues related to the new Electoral Code. On October 2, when a rally in which thousands of people participated, was held at the National Assembly, Arpine Hovhannisyan said they are not against snap elections. Rather, they see a problem in the deadlines.
In its statement, the RPA faction informed that it will support snap parliamentary elections if they are held in May-June 2019, adding that it is necessary to improve the legislation and give political forces time to prepare.
Yulia Lopochkina, Co-Rapporteur for Armenia at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) also spoke about the need to give political forces time to prepare for the snap elections. The latter called to ensure that the snap elections fully comply with the European standards and norms of democratic elections and that all political forces have adequate and sufficient time to prepare for the elections.
Election “game rules ” have long been known
The reforms of the electoral legislation are almost over, and the executive body plans to publish the draft this week. The main point of the legislative reform is the change of the electoral system. The so-called “rating” system has been eliminated and the simple proportional representation system remains.
However, all political forces have been aware of this change since June 7, when the National Assembly approved the government program. The program specifically states that with the amendments to the Electoral Code it is necessary to “abandon the rating electoral system and pass to a completely proportional system”.
It means that the political forces have already had 4 months to adapt to the new electoral system and develop a new strategy for participation in the elections. And if we take into account the fact that it is proposed to hold the elections in December, the political forces will have about 6 months to prepare for them, regardless of when those norms will be implemented in the Electoral Code.
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