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Armenia is on the verge of losing the war, holding a vote to end the crisis –

Armenians voted in parliamentary elections called by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Sunday (June 20) to end the political crisis triggered by the country’s humiliating military defeat to Azerbaijan last year.

Former newspaper editor Pashinyan came to power in 2018 and took the lead in launching peaceful protests against the corrupt elites that ruled after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

However, many Armenians are now disappointed by his failure to implement reforms and his handling of the six-week conflict with Azerbaijan, which claimed approximately 6,000 lives last year.

The 46-year-old Pashinyan signed an unpopular agreement since November last year, ceding large tracts of land controlled by Armenians to Azerbaijan, thus ending control of the separated Nagorno-Karabakh area Since then, he has ignored the call to resign.

Thousands gathered in Armenia after the prime minister warned of the coup attempt

The Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, warned that an attempted military coup would be launched against him on Thursday (February 25). Thousands of people took to the capital after the army asked him and his government to resign. Support him on the street.

He pinned his hopes on the vote to quell the protests and extend the term of office.

However, a vicious election campaign has been affected by radical comments, and there are fears that the election may further polarize the country.

In Yerevan, the capital, dotted with campaign billboards, Armenians expressed conflicting views about their prime minister.

“This surrender and traitor must leave,” said 52-year-old Gegham Hayrapetyan.

“We need a new face, a new politician who can resolve our grievances.”

However, the 69-year-old Sirush Sirunyan blamed Pashinyan’s predecessor for the crisis in this poor South Caucasus country with a population of 3 million.

“Nicole is our hero and savior,” she told AFP.

“The former authorities are responsible for everything. They have been robbing this country for decades.”

Hammer motion

Opinion polls show that Pahinyan’s Civil Contract Party and former President Robert Kocharyan’s electoral bloc go hand in hand.

Both politicians plan to hold multiple rallies after the election.

In the past few weeks, Pashinyan has made a lot of publicity at recent election rallies, wielding a hammer, and urging voters to give him a “steel authorization” to suppress critics.

“This is a hammer belonging to the people, and it will hit your empty heads at sunset on June 20,” he recently declared in a speech to opponents.

He said he expected his party to win 60% of the vote, and some opinion pollers called this estimate “excellent.”

Pahinyan’s enemy and predecessor, Serzh Sargsyan, urged supporters to use “sticks” to counter Pahinyan’s hammer, and his camp is expected to win a seat in parliament.

The fierce campaign remarks triggered warnings from the Armenian Rights Ombudsman and raised concerns about post-vote riots if candidates claim irregularities.

Political analyst Vigen Hakobyan said: “After the election before such a radical campaign, the possibility of street conflict is very high.”

A record number of four electoral groups and 22 political parties are running, most of which are running on pro-Russian platforms.

As a long-time ally, Russia helped to facilitate the armistice agreement with Azerbaijan, and its peacekeepers have been deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh.

Only a few parties are expected to win parliamentary seats.

Pahinyan’s competitor, Kocharyan, led Armenia from 1998 to 2008 and regarded Russian leader Vladimir Putin as his friend. He claimed that he handled the economy better than the current leadership. problem.

“Armenia has never had a leader,” Kocharyan said at a recent election rally.

A poll conducted last week showed that Kocharyan’s party led with 24.1% approval rate, followed by Pashinyan’s party with 23.8% approval rate and Sarkisian’s approval rate of 7.4%.

Aram Navasardyan led the Marketing Professional Group (MPG), the polling agency that conducted the survey, and he predicted that no one would get more than 30% of the vote.

“The mood is high,” Navasardyan told AFP, adding that the gap between Kocharyan and Pashinyan may widen further.

Approximately 2.6 million people are eligible to vote in 2,008 electoral districts, with a minimum of 101 members elected according to a proportional election system for a term of five years.

A political party needs to obtain at least 54% of the seats in the legislature to form a government, and analysts do not rule out a second round of voting.

Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will monitor the elections.

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