Armenia holds a General Election today
Armenians will be voting in a general election today for the first time since a constitutional referendum in 2015 which made the country a parliamentary republic, turning its back on a semi-presidential system.
The changes made included a reduction of the minimum number of seats in the National Assembly to 101 seats from 131 seats with an election threshold of 5% for parties and 7% for multi-party alliances. The ballot paper is in two halves, one for a closed party list of candidates at national level and a second level where voters can give a preference to candidates of the same list at district level (of which there are 13 districts). Four seats are reserved for national minorities including Assyrians, Kurds, Russians and Yazidis.
There are 2,564,244 eligible voters and they will vote at 2,009 polling stations between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. local time.
There are five parties and four blocs contesting the elections;
Republican Party of Armenia; Right-wing ruling party, it is an Observer member of the European People’s Party (EPP)
Free Democrats; Pro-West, centre-right and anti-corruption party
Armenian Renaissance; centrist party
Armenian Revolutionary Federation/ Dashnaktsutyun; Left-wing party
Armenian Communist Party; Far-left party
Yelk (Way out); consists of Bright Armenia, Republic and Civil Contract
Tsarukyan Alliance; consists of the centre-right and Pro-Russian Prosperous Armenia, Alliance and Mission
Ohanyan-Raffi-Oskanian (ORO); consists of the centre-right Heritage and the Unity Party
Congress-PPA Alliance; consists of the centre-right Armenian National Congress and the left-wing People’s Party of Armenia.
Opinion polls suggest that the main battle is between President Serzh Sargsyan’s ruling Republican Party of Armenia on around 33% of the vote which would be a drop down from 44.02% in 2012 and the Tsarukyan alliance on around 29% of the vote. The main party in the Tsarukyan alliance is Prosperous Armenia which won 30.12% of the vote in 2012.