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NewsPoliticsNikol Pashinyan might be the new face of Armenia, opinion polls suggest

Voting began on Sunday in Armenia and the acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan sought a stronger mandate after being elected by lawmakers in May. Mass protests in April were held against corruption and cronyism in the former Soviet republic that led to Pashinyan coming to power. Mr. Pashinyan represents a drastic break from the cadre of rulers who have run Armenia since the late 1990s. Despite his popularity and need, he stepped down in October so that Parliament could...
katana3 months ago643 min

Voting began on Sunday in Armenia and the acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan sought a stronger mandate after being elected by lawmakers in May.

Mass protests in April were held against corruption and cronyism in the former Soviet republic that led to Pashinyan coming to power. Mr. Pashinyan represents a drastic break from the cadre of rulers who have run Armenia since the late 1990s.

Despite his popularity and need, he stepped down in October so that Parliament could be dissolved in readiness for the early election. Opinion polls suggest the My Step Alliance, which includes Mr. Pashinyan’s Civil Contract Party, may easily win a parliamentary majority. Mr. Pashinyan has promised that after taking office there would be no major shifts in Armenian foreign policy and offered assurances he would not break with Moscow, since Armenia hosts a Russian military base and is a member of Russia-led military and economic alliances.

During this phase, many former high-ranking officials were dismissed, and some were arrested following the power change. On Friday, a court of appeal ordered the detention of former President Robert Kocharyan on charges of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order.

Former President Robert Kocharyan was first arrested in July but freed the following month, and the case was sent to the appeals court, when mass protests erupted over a disputed election.

The former ruling Republican Party continues to dominate the current Parliament that was elected in 2017. Pashinyan said he expects Sunday’s vote to lead to a legislature that better reflects the nation’s new political landscape.

Mr. Pashinyan also suggested he would stick with existing policies on the long-running issue of Nagorno-Karabakh. A mountainous part of Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh is run by ethnic Armenians who declared independence from Baku during a conflict that broke out as the Soviet Union crumbled in 1991.

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