Armenia holds early parliamentary elections for the first time since the May revolution, a move which could transform the political landscape in the country.
On Sunday, Armenians began an early parliamentary election nine months after protests brought about peaceful regime change in the country.
“I think these elections should not only be the best in the history of the second republic but also meet the highest international standards,” stated Pashinyan acting Prime Minister (PM) Nikol Pashinyan.
The parliamentary elections had orginally not been scheduled until 2022, but the PM, who was elected by lawmakers to the post after the May protests, is seeking to strengthen his mandate through the ongoing elections.
The leader also believes the election will help change the political landscape by placing lawmakers in office who are more representative of the citizenry.
On Friday, the former president, Robert Kocharyan was detained based on a court order on charges of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order,” according to Reuters.
The acting prime minister stepped down in October in order to allow the dissolution of parliament ahead of the vote.
Pashinya’s My Step alliance and ten political parties and alliances will compete to capture the 101-seat National Assembly.
Currently, the opposition Republican Party holds the majority in parliament. A Gallup poll projects that the My Step Alliance would lead with about 69.4 percent of the vote.
Armenia is a landlocked country, with a population of three million people, and shares borders with Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. The first two borders are closed. The country holds a close economic and military relationship with Russia. Pashinya has reassured Armenians and Russians that he will maintain good relations with Moscow in the future.