YEREVAN/Sept. 24 (The Conway Bulletin) — Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan put the country on alert for a snap parliamentary election after his party won a landslide victory in Yerevan municipal elections, his first democratic test since a revolution in April and May propelled him to power.
Early results showed comedian Hayk Marutyan, standing for Mr Pashinyan’s My Step party, winning 81% in the Sept. 23 vote. The Republican party, which had dominated power in Armenia until the revolution and is still the biggest party in Parliament, did not field a candidate.
From New York, where he was preparing for the UN General Assembly meeting, Mr Pashinyan addressed his supporters in a video.
“Preterm elections must be held very soon because political uncertainties hamper new investments in our economy,” he said. “I think that these elections also showed that in effect the existing parliament does not have a mandate to operate.”
Mr Pashinyan had been a fringe political force until he led street protests in April against Serzh Sargsyan’s shift from the Presidency to the Premiership, a switch designed to hold on to power.
These street protests forced Mr Sargsyan’s resignation and Parliament then appointed Mr Pashinyan as PM, although he is operating a minority government.
Analysts said that if he hadn’t won by a clear margin in the Yerevan election, Mr Pashinyan’s legitimacy would have been tarnished. This large win, though, cements his position as Armenia’s undisputed leader.
The former mayor of Yerevan had been Taron Margaryan, a member of the Republican party. He resigned in June after a series of corruption allegations were made against him.
>> This story was first taken from issue 386 of The Conway Bulletin