2018 Armenian parliamentary election

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2018 Armenian parliamentary election
Armenia
← 2017 9 December 2018 next →
Turnout48.63%
Party Leader % Seats ±
My Step Alliance Nikol Pashinyan 70.42% 88 +83
Prosperous Armenia Gagik Tsarukyan 8.26% 26 -5
Bright Armenia Edmon Marukyan 6.37% 18 +15
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.
Prime Minister before Prime Minister after
Nikol Pashinyan (2018-05-14).jpg Nikol Pashinyan (acting)
Civil Contract
(Way Out Alliance)
Nikol Pashinyan
Civil Contract
(My Step Alliance)
Nikol Pashinyan (2018-05-14).jpg
Coat of arms of Armenia.svg
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Snap parliamentary elections were held in Armenia on 9 December 2018,[1] as none of the parties in the National Assembly were able to put forward and then elect a candidate for Prime Minister in the two-week period following Nikol Pashinyan's resignation on 16 October 2018.[2][3][4]

It was the first general election since the Velvet Revolution in April-May 2018, and the country’s first ever snap parliamentary elections.[5]

A total of 2,573,779 voters were registered to take part in the election.[6]

Electoral system[edit]

The 101 members of the National Assembly are elected by party-list proportional representation. Seats are allocated using the d'Hondt method with an election threshold of 5% for parties and 7% for multi-party alliances.[7][8] However at least three political forces will pass into parliament regardless of the performance of the third best performing party or alliance.

The ballot paper has two sections; one of which is a closed list of candidates for the party at the national level and the other an open list of candidates for the constituency (of which there are 13) that the voter is voting in. Voters vote for a party at the national level and can also give a preference vote to any of the candidates for the same party in a district list.[8] Seats are allocated to parties using their national share of the vote, with half awarded to those on the national list and half to those who receive the most preference votes on the district lists.[8] Four seats are reserved for national minorities (Assyrians, Kurds, Russians and Yazidis), with parties having separate lists for the four groups.[8] A gender quota requires at least 25% of a list to be male or female, and nationwide lists can't include more than three consecutive members of the same gender.

If a party receives a majority of the vote but wins less than 54% of the seats, they will be awarded additional seats to give them 54% of the total. If one party wins over two-thirds of the seats, the losing parties will be given extra seats reducing the share of seats of winning party to two-thirds. If a government is not formed within six days of the preliminary results being released, a run-off round between the top two parties must be held within 28 days. The party that wins the run-off will be given the additional seats required for a 54% majority, with all seats allocated in the first round preserved.[8]

Proposed changes[edit]

Before its resignation, the government submitted a bill to the National Assembly proposing modifications to the electoral system. These included lowering the thresholds for parties and electoral alliances to 4% and 6%, respectively, minimum representation of four political forces in the parliament (provided the fourth strongest receives at least 2% of the votes),[9] abolishment of open lists of candidates from 13 regional constituencies[10] leaving only nationwide closed lists and introduction of TV debates.[11] The bill sought to raise the minimum representation of each gender from 25% to 30% of the seats on a party list. On 22 October, a vote was held on the bill.[12] Most members of the Republican Party (RPA) boycotted the vote; this meant that there were not enough MPs present to pass the bill into law (63). The final vote was 56 in favour, three against.[13][14] RPA deputy chairman Armen Ashotian insisted that the electoral system must not be changed less than two months before the elections, as this would amount to "building democracy in the country with undemocratic methods".[12] The Pashinyan government submitted the bill to parliament a second time, and it was discussed on 29 October.[15] Once again, the bill failed to receive enough votes, and as a result the election will take place according to the legislation created by the RPA-era government.[16]

List of participating parties and alliances[edit]

Parties and electoral alliances were required to inform the CEC of their participation in the election and submit the corresponding documents by 6:00 pm on November 14.[17][18] Nine parties and two alliances (listed below in accordance with their number on the ballot paper)[19] will participate in the election:[20][21][22]

# Party Ideology Founded Leader
1 Republican Party of Armenia National conservatism 1990 Vigen Sargsyan
2 Citizen's Decision Social democracy 2018 Suren Sahakyan
3 Armenian Revolutionary Federation Armenian nationalism, democratic socialism 1890 Armen Rustamyan
4 My Step Alliance (Civil Contract, Mission Party) Big tent, anti-corruption 2015 and 2013 Nikol Pashinyan
5 Bright Armenia Liberalism, Pro-Europeanism 2015 Edmon Marukyan
6 Christian-Democratic Rebirth Party Christian democracy, social market economy[23] 2018 Levon Shirinyan
7 National Progress Party Social liberalism[24] 2018 Lusine Haroyan
8 We Alliance (Free Democrats and Hanrapetutyun Party) Liberalism, Pro-Europeanism 2011 and 2001 Aram Sargsyan
9 Orinats Yerkir Liberal conservatism 1998 Artur Baghdasaryan
10 Sasna Tsrer Pan-Armenian Party Armenian nationalism, Pro-Europeanism 2018 Varuzhan Avetisyan
11 Prosperous Armenia Conservative liberalism 2004 Gagik Tsarukyan

Declined participation or failed to register[edit]

The following parties decline to participate in the election or failed to register: Alliance Party, Armenian Communist Party,[25][25] Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (Ramgavar),[26] Armenian National Congress,[27] Decent Future,[28] Democratic Party of Armenia,[29][30][31] For Social Justice,[32] Heritage,[33] Justice,[34] National Democratic Union,[35] People's Party of Armenia,[27] Union for National Self-Determination,[36] Yerkir Tsirani.[37]

Criticism[edit]

Some politicians and analysts criticized the date of the election based on the fact that an amended Electoral Code was not passed by the parliament. Paruyr Hayrikyan, the leader of Union for National Self-Determination, expects the elections to be "antidemocratic".[36]

Vazgen Manukyan, the leader of National Democratic Union, said while they were preparing for elections in spring, elections in December are too close to get prepared for. He also said that they "do not consider that the hasty elections will promote the establishment of stable political field".[38]

Aram Gaspar Sargsyan, leader of the Democratic Party of Armenia, has declared that the DPA is abstaining from participation in the election,[30] amidst concerns that, because of Pashinyan's failure to rewrite the RPA-era electoral code, new authorities will likely exploit the current version pver the electoral code with amendments. He also stated, that "this election will be the same charade as in 2017".[29]

Some critics believe that the current legislation favored the Republican Party of Armenia in the previous parliamentary election.[39] The country's former ruling party, commanded a majority in the National Assembly prior to the elections, initially called for elections to take place in summer 2019 in order to give the parties time to prepare for elections and make amendments to Armenia's electoral code.[40][41]

Campaign[edit]

Campaigning began on 26 November 2018.[42]

Debates[edit]

Acting Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan proposed to form a tradition of holding live pre-election debates involving the top figures of all forces participating in the elections.[43]

On 28 November, vice chairman of the Republican Party Vigen Sargsyan invited Pashinyan to take part in a live TV debate[44] but the proposal was turned down by Pashinyan.[45]

Leaders of all 11 political forces took part in a live debate that was hosted by Armenian Public Television on 5 December.[46]

Alleged violations[edit]

Independent reports[edit]

On 28 November, it was reported that a working group set up by Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia revealed several violations, such as using insults and intolerance to influence others' opinions.[47]

Former Ombudsman Larisa Alaverdyan said that black PR has been used from the first days of the campaign, and called on all participants to move to a positive field. Also she mentioned that unlike in previous years, the early start of campaign is not regarded as a violation of law by the CEC.[48]

Also on 28 November, newspaper Zhamanak reported that in Yerevan some posters of Bright Armenia party had been torn down and replaced with My Step Alliance posters.[49]

Claimed by campaign participants[edit]

On 27 November, the Republican Party said that some of the acting PM's statements during the election campaign were clear examples of hate speech.[50]

Endorsements[edit]

My Step Alliance
Sasna Tsrer
We Alliance

Opinion polls[edit]

Poller Date of Polling My Step Alliance
(Civil Contract)
Bright Armenia Yelk RPA PAP ARF Sasna Tsrer Heritage
Gallup International Association[56] December 1–4, 2018
69.4
3.8 1.3 5.7 1.2 1.4
Gallup International Association[57] November 17–21, 2018
68.3
1.2 1.5 6.7 1 0.9
International Republican Institute[58] October 9–29, 2018
67
10 2 9 2 3 <1
International Republican Institute[59] July 23–August 15, 2018 with Yelk
66
4 13 2 1
Gallup International Association[60] May 4–9, 2018 with Yelk
75
3.8 3.2 1.9 0.4

Monitoring[edit]

OSCE/ODIHR will conduct a large-scale observation mission. Observers from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will join the observation mission later.[61] There will be over 200 short-term observers.[62]

Observers from all four factions of the Russian parliament will also take part in the monitoring.[63][64]

Voting at 1,500 polling stations (where over 90% of voters are registered) out of 2010 will be broadcast live.[65]

Head of the European Union permanent delegation to Armenia, ambassador Piotr Switalski has declared that Armenia has managed to achieve the highest standards of freedom of speech following the velvet revolution. According to the diplomat, the country now ensures freedom of expression and assembly. Switalski said he hopes it will be possible to minimize hate speech during the election campaign.[66]

Results[edit]

Percentage of votes won by Pashinyan's My Step Alliance by electoral districts

Turnout was 48.63%, 12 percent lower than the 2017 elections.[67]

All the four seats reserved for national minorities (Assyrians, Kurds, Russians and Yazidis) were won by My Step Alliance.[68]

Armenian National Assembly 2018.svg
Party Votes % Seats +/–
My Step Alliance 884,864 70.42 88 +83
Prosperous Armenia 103,801 8.26 26 –5
Bright Armenia 80,047 6.37 18 +15
Republican Party of Armenia 59,083 4.70 0 –58
Armenian Revolutionary Federation 48,816 3.88 0 –7
We Alliance (FDH) 25,176 2.00 0 –1
Sasna Tsrer 22,868 1.82 0 New
Rule of Law 12,393 0.99 0 0
Citizen's Decision 8,514 0.68 0 New
Christian-Democratic Rebirth Party 6,458 0.51 0 New
National Progress Party 4,121 0.33 0 New
Invalid/blank votes 5,111
Total 1,261,105 100 132 +27
Registered voters/turnout 2,593,140 48.63
Source: CEC

Catholicos Karekin II congratulated all parties of, and the outcome of the election, calling it a "milestone" and praying for successes of the new Parliament.[69]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]