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Armenia Parliament Dissolved, Early Elections Set For December


Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian speaks during a parliament session in Yerevan on November 1.

YEREVAN -- Armenia's Central Electoral Commission (CEC) has announced the schedule for next month's snap elections after parliament was dissolved following its second failed attempt to elect a new prime minister.

The CEC on November 2 decided that the election campaign will be held from November 26 through December 7, after President Armen Sarkisian signed a decree late on November 1 setting the elections for December 9.

Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian announced last month he was resigning from the post of prime minister in order to dissolve parliament and force early elections. He will continue to perform his prime-ministerial duties until a new parliament and prime minister are elected.

Under the Armenian Constitution, snap elections can be called only if the prime minister resigns and the parliament fails to replace him or her with someone else within two weeks.

Pashinian has pushed for early parliamentary elections following his bloc's landslide victory in the mayoral race in the capital, Yerevan, last month in a bid to unseat his political opponents, who have maintained a majority in parliament.

A former opposition lawmaker, Pashinian took office in May after spearheading weeks of protests that forced his predecessor, Serzh Sarkisian of the Republican Party of Armenia (HKK), to resign.

The pro-Pashinian Yelk Alliance, which holds only nine seats in parliament, first nominated Pashinian as prime minister on October 23 and lawmakers rejected the nomination the next day.

Yelk and members of the second-largest parliamentary faction controlled by wealthy businessman Gagik Tsarukian nominated Pashinian for the second voting on November 1.

Out of the 70 lawmakers registered for the parliamentary session, "no one voted for Pashinian, no one voted against him, while 13 abstained from voting," parliament speaker Ara Babloyan said following the vote.

As a result, Pashinian’s bid did not gather enough votes, paving the way for the National Assembly's dissolution.

Pashinian's political team is tipped to win the upcoming polls by a landslide.

Political parties or alliances are to submit their documents for registration no later than 25 days before the vote -- by November 14, the CEC said on November 2.

The lists of candidates must then be submitted by political parties or alliances between November 14-19, before the start of the election campaign on November 26.

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