Armenia kicks off snap parliamentary elections

Armenians are heading to the polls on Sunday to elect the country’s lawmakers for the next five years.

More than 2.57 million registered voters are expected to cast their ballots at 2008 polling stations across the country from 8:00 (0400 GMT) till 20:00 (1600 GMT), according to the Central Election Commission (CEC).

A total of 25 political parties and party blocs have registered to run for the parliamentary seats. Any party, which garners more than 5 percent of the ballots, or party blocs securing 7 percent, will be allocated seats in proportion to their shares of votes, according to the CEC.

Armenian President Armen Sarkissian on Saturday called on the people to go to “vote fairly and freely, and reckon with only and nothing but conscience.”

The last parliamentary election was held on Dec. 9, 2018, with a service term of five years. The present snap election was scheduled for March this year as tensions emerged between Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and the country’s General Staff Onik Gasparyan.

Earlier this year, Pashinyan submitted several requests to President Sarkissian demanding the dismissal of Gasparyan, while the military leader’s deputies and dozens of top military commanders signed a statement in February, demanding Pashinyan and his cabinet resign.

In April, Pashinyan announced his resignation to pave the way for the snap parliamentary elections, saying that his party would took part in the contest with himself as the candidate for prime minister.