2,581,093 voters are eligible to vote in Armenia's early parliamentary elections being held on 20 June. This was announced on Monday (31 May) in Yerevan by the country's Central Elections Commission.
The Central Elections Commission has also approved 26 parties and blocs to participate in the elections, and on Monday allocated by lot the order in which they are to appear on the ballot paper. They are:
1. "Fair Armenia" party
2. "Armenian National Congress" party
3. "Civil Contract" party
4. Awakening National Christian Party
5. Freedom Party
6. "I have honor" bloc
7. United Homeland Party
8. "Pan-Armenian National Statehood" party
9. "Bright Armenia" party
10 "Our home is Armenia" party
12 "Hayots Hayrenik" party
13. "Free Homeland" bloc
14. Prosperous Armenia Party
15. Democratic Party of Armenia
16. 5165 National Conservative Movement Party
17. "Citizen Decision Social Democratic" party
18. "Shirinyan-Babajanyan Alliance of Democrats" bloc
19. "National Agenda" party
20. "Rise" party
21. "Liberal" party
22. "Armenian Eagles United Armenia" d
23. "European Party of Armenia"
24. "Hayastan" bloc
25. "National-Democratic Burden"
26. "Sovereign Armenia" party
A long term mission from the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the OSCE (ODIHR) is already in the country to monitor the election process. It is expected to be joined on election day by a large number of short-term observers from the 57 member states of the OSCE.
In a comment on the Armenian elections, published on 27 May in the newsletter Caucasus Concise, commonspace.eu's political editor wrote:
These elections, however, are like no other held in the country in the three decades of its contemporary political existence. The poll is, by and large, a referendum on Nikol Pashinyan, his policies, his style of government, his strengths, and his weaknesses. Pashinyan and his Civic Contract Party won a landslide victory in the 2018 Parliamentary elections and should therefore have stayed on comfortably in government for at least another two years. The dramatic defeat in the 44-day Karabakh War, however, has thrown Armenia into political turmoil. Attempts by extra-parliamentary forces to unseat Pashinyan, blaming him for the defeat, failed. But since the crisis persisted, the only way out was fresh elections, and what Pashinyan hopes will be a fresh mandate to continue his programme of deep-rooted changes in Armenia. Pashinyan remains popular with the Armenian under-class and under-privileged. It is their support which brought him to power, sustained him in the last difficult period, and may yet deliver him victory in the forthcoming elections.
Challenging Pashinyan is a bloc led by former president Robert Kocharyan, considered a smart politician with close connections with Russia, who came out of semi political retirement to lead a bloc which includes the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) – a nationalist force with strong support among Armenia’s diaspora communities.
The two political forces currently sitting as opposition parties in parliament: Bright Armenia and Prosperous Armenian Party are running well-organised campaigns and, particularly the latter, stand a good chance of entering parliament. It is not clear, however, if other forces can. The Republican Party of Armenia of former president Serzh Sargsyan, and the Armenian National Congress of former president Levon Ter-Petrossyan, have nation-wide networks, which, however, may struggle to turn into votes and parliamentary seats. Other parties remain largely unknown or marginal, but one or two with close connections with Moscow may make an appearance as dark horses.
Armenians, already rattled by the military defeats of last Autumn, which left many Armenian families mourning the loss in war of a son or a relative, now appear to be experiencing a certain amount of political fatigue, and many are likely to stay away from the polls, disillusioned by the entire process. Absenteeism may therefore cast a shadow on the election. A clear unambiguous result can help Armenia face the challenges ahead. For the moment such an outcome is unlikely – but three weeks is a long time in politics, and some last minute surprises may yet dent the outcome of the elections.