On April 2, 2017, Armenia is set to vote in the first parliamentary elections since the referendum.

The  upcoming  parliamentary election  is  significant because  it  is  the  first  one since  the  adoption  of  a  new Constitution  that  shifted  the country’s  governance  from  a presidential  to parliamentary one.         

EVN  Report presents  a brief summary  of  the election process  and  the nine  parties and  political blocs  running for  office.

Citizens of Armenia will be heading to the polls on April 2 to vote in a new parliament. This election is significant because it is the first one since the adoption of a new Constitution following a nationwide referendum in December 2015. Under the new Constitution, the country’s system of governance will shift from a presidential to a parliamentary one.

The new system will come into force at the end of the current president’s tenure in 2018. Moving forward, the president will be elected by parliament for a seven-year term and his/her position will be mostly ceremonial. The prime minister will now have sweeping executive powers and serve as the supreme commander of the armed forces. The number of members of parliament will be reduced from 131 to 101 and they will be elected by proportional representation.

Under the new Electoral Code, which was passed by parliament following the adoption of the new Constitution, there will be 13 electoral districts - four in the capital Yerevan and nine covering the rest of the country.

Each political party or bloc taking part in the elections will have one national electoral list of candidates, including one district electoral list for each district (up to 15 candidates in each district electoral list depending on population rates). In order to secure seats in parliament, political parties will have to pass a minimum five percent threshold and blocs will require a minimum seven percent threshold.

Four political blocs and five political parties will be campaigning this March. Who are they?

Those parties and blocs that successfully secure their place in parliament will be presented in the new legislative body as follows: 50 percent of the national list candidates and 50 percent of the district electoral list candidates will represent each faction.

If none achieve 50%+1 they will have to negotiate with other parties and blocs to form a coalition government (maximum three parties or blocs). If no government is formed however, a second round of voting will take place between the top two ranking parties or blocs (to ensure a stable majority). The remaining parties or blocs will maintain their seats, but not the percentage of seats.

The remaining parties and blocs that have secured their seats in parliament will form the opposition and collectively have to have 33 percent of seat allocation. If the opposition has not secured a collective 33 percent allocation they will be given further seats to secure that threshold. This again will potentially increase the seats in parliament from 101.

Four political blocs and five political parties will be running in the campaign. The official campaign kicked off on March 5.

 

District electoral commissions across Armenia.

Who are the political parties and blocs? 

 

Yelq Bloc ​

The YELQ bloc is comprised of three political parties: Civil Contract, Republic Party and Bright Armenia. The three leaders of the parties (Nikol Pashinyan, Aram Sargsyan and Edmon Marukyan respectively) signed a memorandum of understanding in 2016 agreeing to participate as a bloc during the parliamentary election.

The YELQ Bloc has a national list of 121 candidates of which two are currently Members of Parliament, 32 percent are women and 36 percent are unemployed.

Their slogan is “Election, Change, Victory.”

 

The top ten names on the bloc’s national electoral list.

  • Edmon Marukyan (Bright Armenia, Member of Parliament) 
  • Aram Sargsyan (Republic Party, Chairman of the Republic Party)
  • Nikol Pashinyan (Civil Contract, Member of Parliament)
  • Mane Tandilyan (Bright Armenia, Head Accountant at Synopsys Armenia)
  • Sassoun Mikayelyan (Civil Contract, President of the Civil Contract Board)
  • Artak Zeynalyan (Republic Party, Entrepreneur)
  • Lena Nazaryan (Civil Contract, unemployed)
  • Hayk Konjoryan (Bright Armenia, unemployed)
  • Arayik Harutyunyan (Civil Contract, Professor at Yerevan State University)
  • Khachatur Simonyan (Republic Party, unemployed)

“ In order to secure seats in parliament, political parties will have to pass a minimum five percent threshold. Blocs will require a minimum seven percent threshold. ”

Nikol Pashinyan, leader of Civil Contract, one of the three political parties in the Yelq Bloc, speaks to voters at a campaign rally. 

Ohanyan-Raffi-Oskanyan (ORO) Bloc 

This bloc is comprised of two political parties - Unity Party and Heritage - and former Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan. Vartan Oskanian, the leader of the Unity Party is a former Foreign Affairs Minister and founder of the Civilitas Foundation; Raffi Hovhannisian, the leader of the Heritage Party is also a former Foreign Affairs Minister of Armenia.

The ORO Bloc has a national list of 148 candidates of which four are currently Members of Parliament, 28 percent are women and about 47 percent are unemployed. Their slogan is “Heritage, Unity, Victory.”

Raffi Hovhannisian, the leader of Heritage is not included in the top ten, he is number 11.

“ ORO has 148 candidates of which four are currently Members of Parliament, 28% are women and 47% are unemployed. ”

The top ten names on the bloc’s national electoral list.

  • Seyran Ohanyan (independent, unemployed)
  • Armen Martirosyan (Heritage Party, Professor at Physical Culture & Sport State University of Armenia)
  • Vartan Oskanian (Unity Party, Member of Parliament)
  • Elinar Vardanyan (Unity Party, Member of Parliament)
  • Vahagn Hovhannisyan (Heritage Party, School teacher)
  • Andranik Tevanyan (Unity Party, Director of Tevanyan Ltd.)
  • Stepan Margaryan (Unity Party, Member of Parliament)
  • Susanna Muradyan (Heritage Party, Head of HR at Erarspasarkum CJSC)
  • Gegham Nazaryan (Unity Party, Political Science Specialist)
  • Garnik Sahakyan (Heritage, SZN Ltd. Director)

ORO Bloc is comprised of two political parties - Unity and Heritage - and former Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan. 

 

Armenian National Congress (ANC) and Armenian People’s Party Bloc 

The Armenian National Congress was formed in 2008 and is the successor of the Pan-Armenian National Movement. Its leader is former President Levon Ter-Petrosyan. The Armenian People’s Party is led by Stepan Demirchyan, a former presidential candidate and son of Communist-era Armenian leader Karen Demirchyan.

The ANC and Armenian People’s Party Bloc has a national list of 139 candidates of which four are currently Members of Parliament, 32 percent are women and about 53 percent are unemployed. Their slogan is “Peace, Reconciliation, Neighborliness.”

The top ten names on the bloc’s national electoral list.

  • Levon Ter-Petrosyan (ANC, Chairman)
  • Stepan Demirchyan (APP, Member of Parliament)
  • Levon Zurabyan (ANC, Member of Parliament)
  • Zoya Tadevosyan (ANC, Professor at SUEA)
  • Aram Manukyan (ANC, Member of Parliament)
  • Gagik Jhangiryan (ANC, Member of Parliament)
  • Vahagn Khachatryan (ANC, unemployed)
  • Lida Melikyan (ANC, unemployed)
  • Davit Matevosyan (Independent, Director of Qyu-Hash)
  • Stepan Minasyan (APP, Assistant to a MoP)

 

For their campaign posters the candidates have chosen not to opt for recent photos. 

“ Former President Levon Ter-Petrosyan and former presidential candidate Stepan Demirchyan have joined forces under the slogan: Peace, Reconciliation, Neighborliness. ”

 

Tsarukyan Bloc 

 

The Tsarukyan Bloc is composed of the Prosperous Armenia Party, Alliance Party and Arakelutyun Party. While a memorandum of understanding was signed among these three political parties, there are other parties included in the bloc.

The Tsarukyan Bloc has a national list of 188 candidates of which 15 are currently Members of Parliament, 28 percent are women and about 20 percent are unemployed. Their slogan is “It’s Time to Change and to Build.”

The top ten names on the bloc’s national electoral list.

  • Gagik Tsarukyan (Leader of Prosperous Armenia)
  • Ishkhan Zakaryan (Prosperous Armenia, Chairman of the Control Chamber of the Republic of Armenia)
  • Naira Zohrabyan (Prosperous Armenia Parliamentary faction leader)
  • Vardan Postanjyan (Prosperous Armenia, Professor at YSU)
  • Mikayel Melkumyan (Prosperous Armenia, Member of Parliament)
  • Ararat Zurabyan (Pan-Armenian National Movement, unemployed)
  • Tigran Urikhanyan (Alliance Party, Member of Parliament)
  • Iveta Tonoyan (Prosperous Armenia, Kentron TV, News Director)
  • Argam Abrahamyan (Independent, Mayor of Artashat)
  • Vartevan Grigoryan (Prosperous Armenia, Professor at the Nalbandyan University of Shirak)

The Tsarukyan Bloc has a national list of 188 candidates of which fifteen are currently Members of Parliament, 28 percent are women and 20 percent are unemployed. Their slogan is “It’s Time to Change and to Build.”

Republican Party of Armenia (RPA)

The ruling Republican Party of Armenia will be participating in the elections with a total of 197 candidates.

The RPA has a national list that includes 55 current Members of Parliament. Of their candidates 29 percent are women, and 31 percent are independent or other party members. Their slogan is “Security and Progress.”

The top ten names on the party's national electoral list.

  • Vigen Sargsyan (Minister of Defense)
  • Taron Margaryan (Mayor of Yerevan)
  • Arpine Hovhannisyan (Minister of Justice)
  • Ara Babloyan (Member of Parliament)
  • Armen Amiryan (Minister of Culture)
  • Armen Ashotyan (Former Minister of Education, RPA Deputy Chairman)
  • Eduard Sharmazanov (Vice President of the National Assembly)
  • Margarit Yesayan (Member of Parliament)
  • Samvel Farmanyan (Member of Parliament)
  • Garen Avagyan (Member of Parliament)

Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan campaigning on behalf of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia. PM Karapetyan is not included in the party's electoral list. 

“ The RPA national list includes 55 current Members of Parliament; 29% are women, 31% are independent or other party members. ”

 

 

Armenian Revolutionary Federation - Dashnaktsutyun (ARF) 

One of the oldest political parties, the ARF is a junior coalition partner in the current parliament with the ruling Republican Party of Armenia. It currently holds three ministerial portfolios in Armenia’s government.

The ARF has a national list of 171 candidates of which five are currently Members of Parliament, 28 percent are women, 28 percent are independent and 10 percent are unemployed. Their slogan is “New Beginning, Just Armenia.”

 

The top ten names on the party's national electoral list.

  • Armen Rustamyan (Member of Parliament)

  • Aghvan Vardanyan (Member of Parliament)

  • Davit Lokyan (Minister of Territorial Administration and Development)

  • Armenuhi Kurghinyan (Vanadzor City Council Member)

  • Levon Mkrtchyan (Minister of Education and Science)

  • Artsvik Minasyan (Minister of Nature Protection)

  • Armen Babayan (Member of Parliament)

  • Ruzan Arakelyan

  • Spartak Seyranyan (ARF Bureau Member)

  • Michael Manukyan (Member of Parliament)

ARF is a junior coalition partner in the current parliament and holds three ministerial portfolios in Armenia’s government.

“ The ARF has a national list of 171 candidates of which five are currently Members of Parliament, 28% are women, 28% are independent and 10% are unemployed. ”

Renaissance Party

The Renaissance Party of Armenia, formerly the Rule of Law Party is led by Artur Baghdasaryan. The party was founded in 1998 and over the years has been part of various coalition governments.

The Renaissance Party has the longest national list of candidates at 306. Of the candidates five are currently Members of Parliament, 29 percent are women, 46 percent are unemployed and only one is independent. Their slogan is “Vote for Change, Vote for a Renaissance.”

The top ten names on the party’s national electoral list.

  • Artur Baghdasaryan (Renaissance Party Chairman)

  • Mher Shahgeldyan (Member of Parliament)

  • Heghine Bisharyan (Member of Parliament)

  • Hovhannes Margaryan (Member of Parliament)

  • Ishkhan Khachatryan (Member of Parliament)

  • Edgar Arakelyan (H3 TV Station)

  • Marine Kocharyan (Principle of School N 186)

  • Artur Misakyan (Specialist at the National Assembly of Armenia)

  • Khanik Petrosyan (Director of FruitLand)

  • Armen Harutyunayn (Entrepreneur)

The first three candidates on the Renaissance Party electorial list. From left to right: Mher Shahgeldyan, Artur Baghdasaryan and Heghine Bisharyan.

“ Formerly the Rule of Law Party, the Renaissance Party is led by Artur Baghdasaryan. Since its foundation in 1998, the political party has been part of various coalition governments. ”

 

Free Democrats Party

 

The Free Democrats Party was created in 2011. The party participated in the 2012 parliamentary elections for the first time. The current list of candidates includes former members of the Heritage Party.

The Free Democrats Party has a national list of 101 candidates of which two are currently Members of Parliament, 38 percent are women, 21 percent are independent or members of other parties and 36 percent are unemployed.

Their slogan is “We Can: For a Free and Strong Armenia.”

The top ten names on the party’s national electoral list.

  • Khachatur Kokobelyan (Member of Parliament)

  • Hrant Bagratyan (Freedom Party, Member of Parliament)

  • Styopa Safaryan (Independent, Member of the Yerevan Council of Elders)

  • Anahit Bakhshyan (Independent, Member of the Yerevan Council of Elders)

  • Masis Ayvazyan (Executive Secretary, Free Democrats Party)

  • Anjela Khachatryan (Deputy Chairman, Free Democrats Party)

  • Armen Arakelyan (Unemployed)

  • Sona Minasyan (Free Democrats Party Spokesman)

  • Narek Aivazyan (Electric Yerevan NGO Director)

  • Gagik Baghdasaryan (Independent, Member of the Yerevan Council of Elders)

The Free Democrats Party was created in 2011 and participated in the 2012 parliamentary elections for the first time. The current list of candidates includes former members of the Heritage Party. 

Communist Party of Armenia 

“ The Communist Party has taken part in every parliamentary election since independence. ”

The Communist Party of Armenia will also be participating in the upcoming elections. The Communist Party has taken part in every parliamentary election since independence. However, as of 2003, the party has not been able to pass the five percent threshold required to secure seats in the National Assembly.

The Communist Party has a national list of 173 candidates of which none are currently Members of Parliament, 25 percent are women, 8 percent are independent or members of other parties and 54 percent are unemployed or retired.

Their slogan is “Fatherland, Socialism, Employment.

The following is the top ten names on the party’s national electoral list.

  • Tajat Sargsyan (First Secretary of the Communist Party of Armenia)

  • Vazgen Safaryan (Independent, Chairman of the Progressive Communist Party)

  • Gagik Manukyan (Secretary of the Communist Party of Armenia)

  • Mariam Shahinyan (Founder of the Music Festival of the National Gallery of Armenia)

  • Hamlet Danielyan (Independent, President of the Republican Branch of the Industry Workers Trade Organization)

  • Norayr Boghosyan (Member of the Communist Party of Armenia Bureau)

  • Yerchanik Ghazaryan (n/a)

  • Asya Otaryan (First Secretary of the Ijevan Branch of the Communist Party of Armenia)

  • Armen Manukyan (Head of Production at Nairit Plant)

  • Khoren Sargsyan (All-Union Communist Party Presidency Member)

The Communist Party has a national list of 173 candidates of which none are currently Members of Parliament, 25 percent are women, 8 percent are independent or members of other parties and 54 percent are unemployed or retired. 

All photos by Photolure. 

diaspora

Russian Armenians: Navigating Identity

In the traditional Diaspora narrative, American-Armenian, Syrian-Armenian and many other options exist, but Russian-Armenian has never been on the list according to journalist Grigor Atanesian who was born and raised in Saint Petersburg. He says that you’re either Russian or Armenian. "Visiting Armenia, we were the Russian kids who found love in a hopeless place," he writes.

history

Where Have the Women Gone?

The voices of women writers occupy a small space in the Armenian literary canon. They are for the most part absent in literature textbooks in Armenia with the exception of a few women writers, mentioned only in passing. Contemporary women writers, translators and educators answer the question: Where have the women gone?

politics

Armenophobia in Azerbaijan: Causes and Effects

An entire generation of Azerbaijanis has grown up in an atmosphere of hate against the Armenians. State-sponsored Armenophobia has penetrated all spheres of Azerbaijani society. Political Scientist Anzhela Elibegova examines the causes and effects of that policy.


All rights reserved by EVN Report
Developed by Gugas Team