Armenia PM Nikol Pashinian′s alliance wins by landslide | News | DW | 10.12.2018
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Armenia PM Nikol Pashinian's alliance wins by landslide

Armenia's acting prime minister is on track to consolidate his power after preliminary results put his alliance ahead in parliamentary elections. Nikol Pashinian took office in May after leading anti-corruption protests.

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Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan wins in snap elections

Armenians appeared to overwhelmingly back protest leader and current acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in early parliamentary elections on Sunday.

With all votes counted, Pashinian's My Step alliance has garnered over 70 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results released by the Armenian Central Electoral Commission. The pro-business Prosperous Armenia party finished a distant second with 8 percent.

The Republican Party, which controlled the old parliament and is headed by former Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan, suffered a massive defeat and came in at less than 5 percent, according to the early results. This means the will likely not make it into parliament.

Voter turnout for Sunday's election was around 48 percent, significantly down from the 60 percent voter turnout rate in the 2017 parliamentary election.

Read more: Nikol Pashinian: The man behind Armenia's protest movement

A man votes during an early parliamentary election in Yerevan, Armenia (Reuters/Photolure/V. Baghdasaryan)

A man casts his vote at a polling stating in Yerevan, Armenia during this weekend's election

Respecting 'fundamental freedoms'

Pashinian hailed the victory on Monday, thanking the "mighty people" of Armenia.

"I love all of you, I am proud of all of you, I bow to all of you," the 43-year-old former journalist posted on his Facebook page.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), a security-oriented intergovernmental organization whose mandate includes fair elections, said Monday that Armenia's elections had genuine competition.

"The general absence of electoral malfeasance, including of vote-buying and pressure on voters, allowed for genuine competition," the organization said in a statement.

The European Parliament also praised the former Soviet republic's snap election as "well administered."

The vote was held "with respect for fundamental freedoms and enjoyed broad public trust that needs to be preserved through further electoral reforms," the EU's legislative body said in a statement.

From protest leader to prime minister

Pashinian took office in May after leading massive anti-corruption protests against his predecessor, Sargsyan.

He then pushed for the early elections in order to gather a strong mandate for his alliance and win control of the parliament, which was led by Sargsyan's Republicans.

Sargsyan's critics accused him of trying to hold on to power by becoming prime minister after serving two terms as president. A constitutional amendment in 2015 shifted the country from a presidential system to a parliamentary one, granting more power to the prime minister.

dv,rs/cmk (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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