Armenian prime minister wins parliamentary election by landslide

The My Step Alliance, which includes the Civil Contract party of prime minister Nikol Pashinyan, has won a resounding victory in Armenia’s parliamentary election, held on December 9. Official results gave the alliance more than 70 per cent of the vote with its closest challenger, the Prosperous Armenia party, a long way behind on eight per cent. According to the Armenian constitution, opposition parties must have at least 30 per cent of seats in parliament.

“We have achieved our main goal: to hold truly free, transparent, democratic elections,” Mr Pashinyan said. “For the future, our main goal is to strengthen democracy in Armenia at the institutional level.”

Calling early elections – the next vote was not scheduled until 2022 – was a calculated gamble by Mr Pashinyan, who had become frustrated with Armenia’s existing parliament, still dominated by the Republican party of former PM Serzh Sargsyan, blocking his programme of reform. Mr Sargsyan was deposed earlier this year following huge street protests against his increasingly authoritarian rule.

In September, Mr Pashinyan’s bloc won a landslide victory in municipal elections, taking more than 80 per cent of the vote in the capital Yerevan, where nearly 40 percent of the country’s population lives.