Premier’s Party Wins Armenian Election Dominated by War Defeat

Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said his party won a commanding majority in snap parliamentary elections, while he signaled bitter divisions over last year’s war defeat to Azerbaijan will only grow wider.

Pashinyan’s Civil Contract party won 53.9%, according to preliminary results, beating rivals backed by each of the Caucasus republic’s three previous presidents since Armenia’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Calling it Armenia’s “second revolution in the last three years,” Pashinyan said at his campaign headquarters that the vote result was a “mandate” for his party and would be implemented “in all ministries, departments, local governments.”

The snap elections were called after months of political crisis following the 44-day war with Azerbaijan that killed thousands of its soldiers. A Russia-brokered truce in November ended the fighting after Baku, with Turkey’s backing, reclaimed seven districts occupied by Armenia since a 1990s war and took control of part of Nagorno-Karabakh. It was Armenia’s third parliamentary vote in just over four years.

The Armenia bloc formed by ex-President Robert Kocharyan, who is from Nagorno-Karabakh, got just over 21% of the vote. No other groups cleared the barriers to enter the National Assembly, but the I Have Honor bloc, which got 5.23%, will get seats under an exemption to allow in a third party.

Kocharyan’s bloc rejected the count, saying in a statement the results are “in extreme conflict with various manifestations of public life” and that they will investigate.

Some 2,000 Russian peacekeeping troops are now deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh. While its ethnic Armenian majority declared independence amid the Soviet collapse, the enclave is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

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