evn report elections
Illustration by Armine Shahbazyan.

Three years after the Velvet Revolution stopped Serzh Sargsyan from circumventing his two-term limit, Armenian voters will head to the polls yet again. The June 20, 2021 snap parliamentary election will be the third one in the past five years.

After months of protests following Armenia’s defeat in the 2020 Artsakh War and the signing of the November 9, 2020 trilateral agreement that ended the war, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced on March 18 that an early election would be held on June 20. The Homeland Salvation Movement, led chiefly by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, Republican Party of Armenia and Prosperous Armenia Party, had been calling for the resignation of the Prime Minister and the handover of power to an executive body headed by former Prime Minister Vazgen Manukyan. After months of protests and rallies, on April 25, Pashinyan officially tendered his formal resignation to trigger the process to hold an early parliamentary election, in which he would seek re-election. He would continue to hold the office of Prime Minister in an acting capacity until the election takes place. After the move, the Parliament did not vote in a new PM after two attempts over a two week period, as the Constitution requires. After the second failed attempt on May 10, the Parliament was officially dissolved and President Armen Sarkissian set the official election date on June 20.

A record number of 26 political parties and alliances of parties have registered with the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), including those led by Armenia’s first and second Presidents Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Robert Kocharyan, respectively. [Third President Serzh Sargsyan is not among the contestants but his Republican Party of Armenia will participate as part of a newly-formed alliance.] For comparison, in the December 9, 2018 parliamentary election, there were 11 parties and alliances of parties participating. The voter turnout was 48.6%, 11% less than during the April 2017 parliamentary election (60.86%). In order to secure seats in Parliament, political parties will have to pass a minimum 5% threshold, while alliances will be subject to a minimum 7% threshold.

According to the CEC, there are 2,581,093 eligible voters in the Republic of Armenia and 2,008 electoral precincts throughout the country. The regulated campaign period will officially kick off on June 7 and run until June 18. In total, there are 2,621 candidates registered for a minimum 105 seats in Parliament. A little over 36% of the registered candidates are female. Pan-Armenian National Statehood Party has the largest proportion of female candidates with 43.9%, while Armenia Alliance has the least with 30.7%.

Following the 2018 snap parliamentary election, a parliamentary working group was established to  amend the Electoral Code. Although the final bill was adopted before the parliament was dissolved, the only change that will be in force before the June 20 parliamentary election is the elimination of the ratingayin open list component, where voters were able to choose a specific candidate lower down on a party’s list. After January 1, 2022, the threshold that parties need to secure in order to be represented in Parliament will be reduced from 5% to 4%, while the threshold for alliances will be increased from the current 7% to 8%, but these new limits will not apply for the coming election.

 

The 26 political forces taking part in the election will appear in the following order:

1. Fair Armenia Party
2. Armenian National Congress Party
3. Civil Contract Party
4. Awakening National Christian Party
5. Freedom Party
6. I’m Honored Alliance
7. United Homeland Party
8. Pan-Armenian National Statehood Party
9. Bright Armenia Party
10. Our Home is Armenia Party
11. Republic Party
12. Armenians’ Homeland Party
13. Free Homeland Alliance

14. Prosperous Armenia Party
15. Democratic Party of Armenia
16. 5165 National Conservative Movement Party
17. Citizens’ Decision Social-Democratic Party
18. Shirinyan-Babajanyan Democrats’ Alliance
19. National Agenda Party
20. Ascent Party
21. Liberal Party
22. Armenians’ Eagles United Armenia Party
23. European Party of Armenia
24. Armenia Alliance
25. National Democratic Axis Pan-Armenian Party
26. Sovereign Armenia Party

1. Fair Armenia Party (FAP)

Արդար Հայաստան կուսակցություն
“Stand up, Armenia!”
Prime Ministerial Candidate: Norayr Norikyan

 

Before he began organizing a political movement in May 2020, Norayr Norikyan operated his own legal practice, Norikyan and Associates. The founding congress for the Fair Armenia Party was held on February 20, 2021. The day was chosen specifically because of its significance as the start of the Karabakh Movement in 1988.

The party advances an anti-corruption agenda. Norikyan has insisted that the country’s political crisis can only be solved through democratic elections, though he originally called for constitutional amendments restoring the semi-presidential system to be made before an early election is held (an idea that was later floated by Nikol Pashinyan at his March 1, 2021 rally in Republic Square).

In his announcements, Norikyan issues figurative “yellow cards” to Pashinyan’s My Step government, in particular related to the politicization of the judicial system. During his speech at his party’s founding congress, he said that “Only the people can issue a red card.”

289

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

1. Norik (Norayr) Norikyan
2. Sargis Zoranyan
3. Marine Nurbekyan
4. Samvel Poghosyan
5. Eduard Terteryan

6. Adelina Shahinyan
7. Davit Karapetyan
8. Artak Hovhannisyan
9. Tereza Zakaryan
10. Artur Simonyan

2. Armenian National Congress (ANC) Party 

Հայ ազգային կոնգրես կուսակցություն
“The Time to Get Serious”

Prime Ministerial Candidate: Levon Ter-Petrosyan
Website: anc.am

 

The Armenian National Congress (ANC) Party is the successor to the Armenian National Movement (ANM), which was led by Armenia’s first President Levon Ter-Petrosyan and formed Armenia’s first post-independence government. Ter-Petrosyan attempted a comeback in the 2008 presidential election, coming in second with 21.5% of the vote. According to the U.S. Embassy in Armenia, Ter-Petrosyan had actually secured between 30% to 35% of the vote, which would have posed a need for a runoff round. To silence the protests that had begun after a highly contested presidential election, security forces cracked down on peaceful protesters during post-election demonstrations in Yerevan on March 1, 2008, leaving ten people dead.

In 2012, the ANM formed the Armenian National Congress electoral alliance with Stepan Demirchyan’s People’s Party of Armenia (PPA) and Aram Z. Sargsyan’s Republic Party to participate in that year’s parliamentary election, along with several other smaller political parties. It was among the six political forces represented in Parliament, with 7.1% of the national vote. Following that election, the ANM was renamed the Armenian National Congress Party.

During the 2017 parliamentary election, the ANC formed an electoral alliance with the PPA but received only 1.7% of the vote, less than the threshold to gain any seats. The ANC did not take part in the 2018 parliamentary election, instead supporting the My Step Alliance led by Pashinyan. In the aftermath of the 2020 Artsakh War, Ter-Petrosyan has been very critical of Pashinyan, attempting to form a united team with former presidents Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan, who rejected his offer. The 2021 election will be the first in which the ANC participates alone and not as part of any electoral alliance. Even in 1995, the ANM led an alliance called the Republic Bloc. It will be headed once again by Ter-Petrosyan.

The ANC is one of only two parties (the other being the Civil Contract Party) to nominate a Kurdish candidate in 2021. 

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

1. Levon Ter-Petrosyan
2. Levon Zurabyan
3. Inessa Gabayan
4. Hayk Maghakelyan
5. Bagrat Asatryan
6. Anna Gevorgyan
7. Arman Musinyan
8. Samvel Abrahamyan
9. Karine Yaralyan
10. Grigor Grigoryan

3. Civil Contract Party

Քաղաքացիական պայմանագիր կուսակցություն
“There is a Future”

Prime Ministerial Candidate: Nikol Pashinyan
Website: civilcontract.am

 

Nikol Pashinyan’s Civil Contract Party was established in 2015 and thus far participated in two parliamentary elections. In 2017, Civil Contract teamed up with the Bright Armenia and Republic parties to participate in its first nationwide election as part of Way Out (Yelk) Alliance. This was the first national election since the 2015 constitutional referendum that shifted the country's governance from a presidential to a parliamentary model. Yelk secured 7.8% of the vote and was represented with nine members in the Parliament, the majority of whom were members of Civil Contract.

The December 2018 snap parliamentary election followed the nationwide non-violent mass protests that forced the resignation of Serzh Sargsyan and came to be known as the Velvet Revolution. Pashinyan led the My Step Alliance, consisting of the Civil Contract Party and the much smaller Mission Party, registering a landslide victory with 70.4% of the vote, and consequently securing a two-thirds majority of the seats in the National Assembly.

Following the 2020 Artsakh War, five MPs left the My Step Caucus to sit as independents: Vardan Atabekyan, Gor Gevorgyan, Anna Grigoryan, Taguhi Tovmasyan and Sofia Hovsepyan. In the upcoming June 20 snap election, Civil Contract will participate alone and its national electoral list will be led by the current acting Prime Minister and the party’s founding president Nikol Pashinyan.
 

285

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

1. Nikol Pashinyan
2. Ararat Mirzoyan
3. Lilit Makunts
4. Suren Papikyan
5. Khachatur Sukiasyan
6. Lena Nazaryan
7. Alen Simonyan
8. Romanos Petrosyan
9. Arpine Davoyan
10. Arsen Torosyan
 

Before coming to power, Pashinyan pledged that, under his leadership, business will be separated from politics. Over the past three decades, many of Armenia’s notorious oligarchs viewed an MP seat as a way to guarantee that their business interests would be protected. After three years in power, Pashinyan seems to have had a change of heart, however, as two well-known businessmen, Khachatur Sukiasyan and Gurgen Arsenyan, have been included in Civil Contract’s candidate list for 2021. Sukiasyan, nicknamed “Grzo,” heads the SIL group of companies. He was an independent MP from 1999 to 2009. Arsenyan, ranked #14, is the president of the United Labour Party and was an MP from 2000 to 2017. From 2012 to 2017, he sat as part of the Prosperous Armenia Caucus.

Of the 26 parties running, the Civil Contract Party is the only one to have nominated candidates from all of Armenia’s four largest ethnic minorities; they are all the current incumbent MPs representing those communities.

The four MPs from the Mission Party that were part of the My Step Caucus are not included in Civil Contract’s candidate list in 2021. Four other incumbent MPs are ranked lower than #140 on the candidate list, giving them little chance of being re-elected. They are: Victor Yengibaryan (#143), Hayk Gevorgyan (#151), Karapet Mkchyan (#154) and Mkhitar Hayrapetyan (#157).

Sergey Bagratyan, a former PAP MP who left the caucus to sit as an independent, has been included in the Civil Contract candidate list at #52. He was a member of the Parliamentary Working Group on Electoral Reform and voted with the Civil Contract Party to pass recent amendments to the Electoral Code and the Law on Political Parties.

4. Awakening National Christian Party

Զարթոնք ազգային քրիստոնեական կուսակցություն
Prime Ministerial Candidate: Ara Zohrabyan
Website: zartonq.am

 

Vahagn Chakhalyan, the founder of the Awakening National Christian Party, was one of the main leaders of the Kamk political movement, known for its fierce opposition to the Istanbul Convention on combating violence against women in the summer and fall of 2019. Born in Akhalkalak, a majority-Armenian city in Georgia’s Javakheti (Javakhk in Armenian) region, Chakhalyan had served time in prison in Georgia from 2009 to 2013 for possession of illegal firearms. He views the arrest as persecution for his political organizing activities among Javakhk’s Armenian youth.

Though Chakhalyan was listed in the #2 spot on the Zartonk party’s candidate list, he did not submit the necessary paperwork to the CEC in time and his candidacy was rejected by the CEC. MP candidates cannot have been a citizen of another country for the preceding four years, though this was not specifically brought up at the CEC session as the reason he was unable to file his paperwork on time.

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

281

1. Ara Zohrabyan
2. Vahagn Chakhalyan (candidacy rejected by CEC)
3. Karine Nalchajyan
4. Artem Tarzyan
5. Karen Torosyan

6. Marine Farmanyan
7. Grigor Mnatsakanyan
8. Khachik Hakobyan
9. Lusine Sargsyan
10. Andranik Margaryan

5. Freedom Party

Ազատություն կուսակցություն
Prime Ministerial Candidate: Hrant Bagratyan

 

Hrant Bagratyan is a former Prime Minister of Armenia, serving between 1993 and 1996 as part of Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s ANM administration. In 1997, he founded the Freedom Party. They took 1.0% of the vote in the 1999 parliamentary election, not meeting the 5% threshold. After a period of inactivity, the Freedom Party participated in the 2012 Armenian National Congress alliance with Levon Ter-Petrosyan, and Bagratyan was elected as the only MP from his party. During the 2017 election, the Freedom Party participated in an unofficial alliance with the Free Democrats, providing 9 of the 101 candidates, with Bagratyan ranked #2. However, they received 0.9% of the votes and did not meet the 5% threshold.

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

1. Hrant Bagratyan
2. Aida Batikyan
3. Aramayis Avetisyan
4. Aram Mkhoyan
5. Shoghakat Mikayelyan
6. Vardan Margaryan
7. Narine Kroyan
8. Harutyun Papazyan
9. Lilit Hovhannisyan
10. Nune Avanesyan

6. I’m Honored Alliance

Պատիվ ունեմ դաշինք
“Straighten Your Back! Let’s Get To Work! So We Can Live.”

Prime Ministerial Candidate: Artur Vanetsyan
Website: pativunem.am

 

The Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) is among the oldest political parties in Armenia, with extensive experience and involvement in political processes. It was founded in 1990 by Ashot Navasardyan and has participated in all parliamentary elections held in Armenia after its independence in 1991. In the early 1990s, when the RPA was still a minor player in Armenia’s political arena, it joined the Republic Bloc during the 1995 parliamentary election. The electoral alliance, which was led by Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s ANM, ended up winning 43.9% of the vote and formed a governing coalition with the Shamiram Party.

After Navasardyan died in 1997, Andranik Margaryan took over as party leader. During the next parliamentary election in 1999, the RPA was again part of the largest faction in parliament, this time as part of the Unity Bloc (42.4%). In 2003, it contested the election alone for the first time, finishing in first place in a crowded field with 23.7% of the vote. Margaryan served as Prime Minister to President Robert Kocharyan from 2000 until his death in March 2007, and remains Armenia’s longest-serving Prime Minister. He was succeeded as Prime Minister and leader of the RPA by Serzh Sargsyan, who went on to become Armenia’s third president from 2008 to 2018. In 2007, the RPA took 33.9% of the vote and governed in coalition with the Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP), Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) and Country of Law Party.

During the Serzh Sargsyan presidency (2008-2018), two parliamentary elections were held in 2012 and 2017, where the RPA entrenched its dominance with 44.1% and 49.1% of the vote, respectively. However, in 2018, they received only 4.7%, failing to meet the 5% threshold. It was the first time in the history of independent Armenia that they were not represented in Parliament.

For the June 20 election, RPA has teamed up with the Homeland Party, which was technically founded in 1991 but was inactive until Artur Vanetsyan, the former head of Armenia’s National Security Service, became its new leader. Former Homeland Party leader Zhasmen Asryan is ranked #33 on the 2021 candidate list. Vanetsyan will lead the list as the alliance’s candidate for the post of Prime Minister. Andranik Margaryan’s son, Taron Margaryan, a former mayor of Yerevan who resigned in 2018 amid a corruption scandal, is ranked #2.

280

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

1. Artur Vanetsyan
2. Taron Margaryan
3. Anna Mkrtchyan
4. Ishkhan Zakaryan
5. Hayk Mamijanyan
6. Taguhi Tovmasyan
7. Tigran Abrahamyan
8. Martun Grigoryan

9. Tehmina Vardanyan
10. Arman Sahakyan

7. United Homeland Party (UHP)

Միասնական հայրենիք կուսակցություն

“Let’s Select the Future”
Prime Ministerial Candidate: Lusine Avagyan

 

Although United Homeland is also the name of a political party in Artsakh, founded by Samvel Babayan, the United Homeland Party is not related to it. (Babayan has founded a new party called the Liberal Party in the Republic of Armenia.) The UHP was founded by Mher Terteryan, who was once an advisor to former Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan. In English, sometimes his first name is spelled Mger, as there is no letter “h” in Russian and he has spent considerable time studying and working in Russia and Kazakhstan.

The UHP founding congress was held on April 23, 2021, promising to take a positive approach to suggesting new ideas instead of criticizing other political players. Terteryan himself is not running, likely due to restrictions on dual citizenship for MP candidates. The candidate list is led by Lusine Avagyan, the founding director of a consulting office. She is one of two female Prime Ministerial candidates among the 26 parties/alliances participating in the election.

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

266

1. Lusine Avagyan
2. Tigran Parsamyan
3. Tigran Marabyan
4. Svetlana Petrosyan
5. Tigran Ghazaryan

6. Aleksandr Papikyan
7. Hovsep Hakobyan
8. Hakob Hakobyan
9. Hamest Azatyan
10. Eduard Abovyan

8. Pan-Armenian National Statehood Party

Համահայկական ազգային պետականություն կուսակցություն
Prime Ministerial Candidate: Artur Vardanyan

 

The Pan-Armenian National Statehood Party held its founding congress on May 13, 2021, after the election date had been officially set two days earlier. The event was not open to the media. The party has a very thin digital presence. A recurring theme in their Facebook posts suggests that their slogan might be “We will break it,” but that remains unconfirmed.

The party is led by 39-year-old Artur Vardanyan. His father Valerik Vardanyan was part of a detachment of volunteers from Spitak during the First Karabakh War; he died a month before the end of the war in 1994 at the age of 36.

The party is focused on restoring the dignity of the Armenian people in the aftermath of the 2020 Artsakh War. In Armenian, its abbreviation is the same as the abbreviation for the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), but that may just be a coincidence.

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

287

1. Artur Vardanyan
2. Gor Minasyan
3. Mariam Metsoyan
4. Valerik Minasyan
5. Haykaz Israelyan

6. Sona Najaryan
7. Artem Petrosyan
8. Gevorg Sakanyan
9. Perchuhi Gevorgyan
10. Hrant Patrikyan 

9. Bright Armenia Party (BAP)

Լուսավոր Հայաստան կուսակցություն
“There is an Alternative, Vote!”

Prime Ministerial Candidate: Edmon Marukyan
Website: brightarmenia.am

 

Edmon Marukyan was first elected as an independent MP in 2012 in the district of Vanadzor, edging out RPA incumbent Viktor Dallakyan 11,689 votes to 9,271. He later established the Bright Armenia Party (BAP) in 2015. In 2016, the BAP came in second during Vanadzor’s first-ever proportional city council election, almost electing Edmon Marukyan’s brother as the mayor.

June 20 will mark their third parliamentary election. Bright Armenia took part in the 2017 parliamentary election as part of the Way Out (Yelk) alliance with the Civil Contract and Republic parties. During the 2018 early parliamentary election, Bright Armenia contested alone, securing 6.4% of the vote and becoming the third-largest parliamentary party.

Bright Armenia had a generally constructive relationship with Pashinyan’s My Step Alliance but May 8, 2020 marked a major milestone, when Civil Contract MP Sasun Mikayelyan slapped Edmon Marukyan during a parliamentary session, creating an altercation. The relationship between the two factions never fully recovered from that incident. In the aftermath of the 2020 Artsakh War, BAP also sought Pashinyan’s resignation but never associated itself with the Homeland Salvation Movement’s protests.

291

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

1. Edmon Marukyan
2. Artyom Geghamyan
3. Ani Samsonyan
4. Gevorg Gorgisyan
5. Davit Khazhakyan
6. Karine Ghukasyan
7. Sarik Minasyan
8. Levon Martirosyan
9. Srbuhi Grigoryan
10. Stepan Stepanyan

10. Our Home is Armenia Party

Մեր տունը Հայաստանն է կուսակցություն 
Prime Ministerial Candidate: Tigran Urikhanyan

 

The Our Home is Armenia Party was first founded in 2004 and led by Vachakan Chibukhchyan. It was then de-registered in 2016 but re-registered in 2018, after the Velvet Revolution. However, Chibukhchyan is no longer associated with the party. It’s main face is now Ara Abrahamyan, the President of the Union of Armenians in Russia and a UNESCO goodwill ambassador, who has bought up significant billboard space ahead of the June 20 election.

Technically speaking, the Our Home is Armenia Party has entered into an unofficial alliance with Tigran Urikhanyan’s Alliance Progressive-Centrist Party (APCP). Of the 88 candidates on the list, 26 are from the APCP, just under the 30% limit that would require declaring a formal alliance and being subject to a higher 7% electoral threshold (instead of 5%).

The Our Home is Armenia Party has not participated in any previous election with a proportional candidate list. However, Urikhanyan has been an MP since 2012. The APCP was part of the Tsarukyan electoral alliance in 2017 with the PAP and Mission Party. In 2018, Urikhanyan was re-elected to Parliament as part of the PAP’s national electoral list, but left their caucus in February 2020 to sit as an independent.

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

1. Tigran Urikhanyan
2. Vardan Ayvazyan
3. Sona Gulkanyan
4. Narek Khachatryan
5. Gor Shahsuvaryan
6. Gayane Mkhitaryan
7. Hakob Hakobyan
8. Mushegh Ghazaryan
9. Marine Movsesyan
10. Robert Ghazanchyan
 

11. Republic Party 

Հանրապետություն կուսակցություն
“Jobs and Security”

Prime Ministerial Candidate: Aram Z. Sargsyan

 

The Republic Party was founded in 2001 by Aram Z. Sargsyan, at a time of major political shifts in Armenia and two years after gunmen stormed the National Assembly building on October 27, 1999, killing Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan, Speaker of Parliament Karen Demirchyan and six others. Aram Z. Sargsyan, Vazgen Sargsyan’s brother, briefly served as Prime Minister between 1999 and 2000 before he was dismissed by then-President Robert Kocharyan. The party has participated in four parliamentary elections. The first was in 2003, when the Republic Party took part in the Justice Alliance that brought together the People’s Party of Armenia (PPA), Democratic Party of Armenia, National Democratic Union and the Constitutional Rights Union. The alliance finished second to the RPA, with 13.8% of the vote. The PPA was led by Stepan Demirchyan, the son of Karen Demirchyan.

During the 2007 parliamentary election, the Republic Party failed to pass the 5% threshold with only 1.6% of the national vote and was thus not represented in Parliament. Although Aram Sargsyan was elected to Parliament in 2012 off the proportional electoral list of the Armenian National Congress, he refused the mandate. The Republic Party returned to the political arena in 2017 and was represented in the National Assembly as part of Way Out (Yelk) Alliance that it formed with Civil Contract and Bright Armenia. During the last 2018 parliamentary election, the Republic Party joined forces with the Free Democrats Party to form the We (Menk) Alliance, which ended up garnering only 2% of the national vote.

Aram Z. Sargsyan (not to be confused with Aram G. Sargsyan of the DPA), still leads the Republic Party and will top the party’s electoral list for the June 20 parliamentary election. Ranked at #2 is Artak Zeynalyan, who served as Minister of Justice to Nikol Pashinyan from May 2018 to June 2019.

278

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

1. Aram Z. Sargsyan
2. Artak Zeynalyan
3. Ani Khachatryan
4. Romik Mkhitaryan
5. Borik Nazaryan
6. Anahit Adamyan
7. Manvel Ghazaryan
8. Albert Hovasapyan
9. Haykanush Ghshyan
10. Taron Sapeyan
 

12. Armenians’ Homeland Party

Հայոց հայրենիք կուսակցությու

Prime Ministerial Candidate: Artak Galstyan

 

The Armenians’ Homeland Party was first established in 2005 and led by Arshak Baklachyan. They nominated two district candidates during the 2007 parliamentary election, though neither was elected. The party was de-registered in 2016 but then re-registered in 2018, after the Velvet Revolution. It’s new party president is Anahit Yeghoyan, though its Prime Ministerial candidate is Artak Galstyan, nicknamed “Vanoyi Artak.” Galstyan has said he was motivated to seek office after the defeat in the 2020 Artsakh War.

Although the party does not have much of a public profile, a recent MPG Poll placed them at 2.1% support, relatively high compared to the rest of the pack. The party name sounds very similar to Artur Vanetsyan’s Homeland Party, though the two are not related. It is possible that some poll respondents may have confused them, as the Homeland Party is part of the I’m Honored Alliance and does not appear alone. It is possible that similar confusion could play into their favor on Election Day.

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

290

1. Artak Galstyan
2. Anahit Yeghoyan
3. Khachatur Navasardyan
4. Susanna Sargsyan
5. Gagik Galstyan

6. Hayk Galstyan
7. Marina Khachatryan
8. Artak Harutyunyan
9. Sedrak Martikyan
10. Karine Ghukasyan

13. Free Homeland Alliance

Ազատ հայրենիք դաշինք
Prime Ministerial Candidate: Mikayel Hayrapetya

 

Among a very crowded field, the Free Homeland Alliance is the only entity that brought together more than two political parties in an attempt to create a big tent alternative. It includes the Conservative Party, the Armenian Construction Party, the National Self-Determination Union Party, the National Democrats’ Alliance Party and the Armenian Green (Socio-Ecological) Party. Two of them, the Conservative and Green parties, had been part of the Armenian National Congress alliance in 2012.

Mikayel Hayrapetyan, leader of the Conservative Party, heads the alliance’s ticket. Green Party leader Armenak Dovlatyan is ranked #14. The National Self-Determination Union Party was founded by Paruyr Hayrikyan, an opposition figure since the first 1991 presidential election. However, Hayrikyan is not on the candidate list in 2021.

The Armenian Construction Party was founded in 2019 and led by Andrias Ghukasyan, who is ranked #2 on the alliance’s list. The National Democrats’ Alliance Party was founded in 2001 and led by Arshak Sadoyan, who is ranked #4.

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

1. Mikayel Hayrapetyan
2. Andrias Ghukasyan
3. Annman Khachatryan
4. Arshak Sadoyan
5. Gevorg Arzumanyan
6. Karine Sargsyan
7. Khachik Manukyan
8. Armen Gabrielyan
9. Manya Ayvazyan
10. Harnush Kharatyan

14. Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP)

Բարգավաճ Հայաստան կուսակցություն
“Secure Homeland, Strong State”

Prime Ministerial Candidate: Gagik Tsarukyan
Website: bhk.am

 

Former arm-wrestling world champion and business tycoon Gagik Tsarukyan founded the Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) in 2004. It is widely believed that the move was encouraged by Armenia’s second President Robert Kocharyan to create a counterweight to the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA). It has played a significant role in Armenian politics since then. In 2007, the party participated in its first parliamentary election, garnering 15.1% of the vote and joining the governing coalition. During the 2012 parliamentary election, the PAP doubled its previous results with 30.2%.

After a scathing personal attack by President Serzh Sargsyan and other Republican Party members, Tsarukyan withdrew from politics in February 2015 by resigning as the leader of the PAP. The rift between Tsarukyan and Sargsyan developed after Tsarukyan voiced his opposition to the 2015 constitutional referendum. Several Tsarukyan loyalists were arrested, and his businesses came under the scrutiny of law enforcement. Tsarukyan was further mocked and humiliated by senior Republicans, with Sargsyan describing him as “evil” for the country and referring to him by his “Dodi Gago” nickname. Tsarukyan announced his return to politics two years later. Ahead of the April 2017 parliamentary election, the PAP formed the Tsarukyan Alliance, which ended up winning 27.4% of the national vote. During the 2018 snap parliamentary election, the PAP came in distant second with 8.4% of the vote, forming the largest parliamentary opposition with 26 seats in the National Assembly. Three MPs, Tigran Urikhanyan, Sergey Bagratyan and Gevorg Petrosyan eventually left the PAP Caucus to sit as independents.

Tsarukyan is one of the wealthiest individuals in Armenia, as the owner of the Multi Group of companies, which was founded in 1995 and includes over 40 businesses. He established the Gagik Tsarukyan Charity Foundation, which supports church construction, youth initiatives and community development. He is an avid athlete, becoming the world champion in arm-wrestling in 1996 and the European champion in 1998. He is also the president of the National Olympic Committee of Armenia. He is staying on to lead the PAP list for the June 20 election.

Notably, Naira Zohrabyan, a PAP MP since 2007, announced that she will not seek re-election in 2021.

279

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

1. Gagik Tsarukyan
2. Mikayel Melkumyan
3. Iveta Tonoyan
4. Davit Simonyan
5. Karapet Guloyan
6. Shake Isayan
7. Kajik Gevorgyan
8. Arman Abovyan
9. Luiza Sargsyan
10. Hrant Davtyan

15. Democratic Party of Armenia (DPA)

Հայաստանի դեմոկրատական կուսակցություն

Prime Ministerial Candidate: Tigran Arzakantsyan

 

Tigran Arzakantsyan, originally from Gegharkunik’s regional capital of Gavar, was an RPA MP from 2003 to 2012. He was looking to make a political comeback in 2021 and searching for a political party to team up with as he bought up ad space in Yerevan, ostensibly promoting the Tigran Arzakantsyan Foundation that he leads. At first, he suggested that he was in talks with Raffi Hovhannisian’s Heritage Party, but eventually he announced that he would join Aram G. Sargsyan’s Democratic Party of Armenia.

Aram G. Sargsyan (not to be confused with Aram Z. Sargsyan of the Republic Party) was the last head of the Communist Party in Armenia before the Soviet Union collapsed. From 2003-2007, he was an MP, sitting with the Justice Caucus.

Arzakantsyan’s current wife Natalya Rotenberg is the ex-wife of Russian billionaire Arkady Rotenberg, a personal friend of Vladimir Putin. She had announced that she would play a role in the campaign but later clarified that she would not be a candidate herself.

The DPA list also includes four candidates from the Social-Democrat Hunchakian Party, whose history dates back to the late 1800s.

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

1. Tigran Arzakantsyan
2. Aram G. Sargsyan
3. Narine Dilbaryan
4. Radik Karapetyan
5. Zhasmena Ghevondyan
6. Armen Arzakantsyan
7. Gurgen Grigoryan
8. Geghetsik Manukyan
9. Aram Yolchyan
10. Armen Hunanyan

16. 5165 National Conservative Movement Party  

5165 ազգային պահպանողական շարժում կուսակցություն
Prime Ministerial Candidate: Karin Tonoyan

 

The 5165 National Conservative Movement Party is named after the elevation in meters of Mount Ararat. Heading up the party’s national electoral list is Karin Tonoyan who for years was the host of the Hay Aspet educational TV gameshow for school children. The program, which launched in 2008, ran for 10 years and hosted over 11,000 students and 300 servicemen. Tonoyan’s son Menua Hovhannisyan was killed during the 2020 Artsakh War. Hovhannisyan, who was an intelligence officer in the Artsakh Defense Army, had also fought in the 2016 Four Day April War and was posthumously awarded the Hero of Artsakh.

The 5165 list, one of only two headed by a woman, counts two Harvard University alumni among its top four candidates. Gevorg Tamamyan completed a postgraduate program at Harvard Medical School. He is currently a professor at Yerevan State Medical University in pediatric oncology and advisor to the Director of Armenia’s largest hematology center. Hovhannes Ghazaryan completed a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Until the end of the 2020 Artsakh War, he was the Executive Director of the My Step Foundation, led by Anna Hakobyan, the wife of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

267

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

1. Karin Tonoyan
2. Arsen Grigoryan
3. Gevorg Tamamyan
4. Hovhannes Ghazaryan
5. Menua Soghomonyan
6. Naira Yeritsyan
7. Vardan Kalantaryan
8. Tigran Baloyan
9. Lilit Asatryan
10. Armen Ghazaryan

17. Citizens’ Decision Social-Democratic Party

Քաղաքացու որոշում սոցիալ-դեմոկտրատական կուսակցություն
Prime Ministerial Candidate: Suren Sahakyan
Website: sdp.am

 

Citizen’s Decision Social-Democratic Party was founded in November 2018 following the Velvet Revolution by a group of left-leaning activists. The party traces back its origin to the 2012 Mashtots Park Movement against illegal construction and destruction of green zones in Yerevan. The party has only participated in the 2018 snap parliamentary election, securing only 0.7% of the vote, well below the required 5% minimum threshold. The party had existed for less than a month when the election took place. Suren Sahakyan will once again lead the party’s list for the June 20 parliamentary election.

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

275

1. Suren Sahakyan
2. Gor Hakobyan
3. Irina Hovhannisyan
4. Karen Grigoryan
5. Hayk Sahakyan

6. Astghik Melkonyan
7. Artur Avagyan
8. Yana Matasheva
9. Areg Tadevosyan
10. Yervand Ismailyan

18. Shirinyan-Babajanyan Democrats’ Alliance

Շիրինյան- Բաբաջանյան ժողովրդավարների դաշինք
“Against Kleptocracy, For the Republic” 

Prime Ministerial Candidate: Arman Babajanyan

 

During the 2018 parliamentary election, Levon Shirinyan led the Christian-Democratic Renaissance Party, albeit without becoming a member of the party itself. Their list included candidates from the Nzhdehian Tseghakron Party and Hayk Party; however, the team only secured 0.5% of the national vote and no seats. Seemingly due to personal disagreements, Shirinyan later founded a new political party called the Christian-Democratic Party in February 2021.


Arman Babajanyan was elected off the Bright Armenia Party list during the 2018 election. In September 2019, he left the Bright Armenia Caucus to sit as an independent. In May 2020, he started organizing his own group, holding the founding congress of the For the Republic Defenders of Democracy Alliance Party. Together these two figures created the Shirinyan-Babajanyan Democrats’ Alliance to present a joint list for the June 20 election.
 

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

277

1. Arman Babajanyan
2. Levon Shirinyan
3. Seda Safaryan
4. Hayk Sukiasyan
5. Styopa Safaryan

6. Tamara Hayrapetyan
7. Ruben Mehrabyan
8. Argisht Tadevosyan
9. Ani Yeghiazaryan
10. Truni Karapetyan

19. National Agenda Party

Ազգային օրակարգ կուսակցություն
“Nation state, Healthy public, Competitive economy”

Prime Ministerial Candidate: Ara Hakobyan
Website: nationalagenda.am

 

The National Agenda Party, founded in 2018, is among the political forces participating in the June 20 election. Leading the party’s list is Ara Hakobyan, one of the three co-founders; while the other two co-founders, Avetik Chalabyan and Igor Zargaryan are not among the candidates. Hakobyan is a former diplomat. During the 2018 parliamentary election, he ran as an open list candidate in Yerevan for the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

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

288

1. Ara Hakobyan
2. Ara Gasparyan
3. Tatevik Hakobyan
4. Karen Gasparyan
5. Norayr Aghayan

6. Nune Amiryan
7. Ashot Ghazaryan
8. Hayk Paytyan
9. Anahit Hakobjanyan
10. Hovhannes Nikoghosyan

20. Ascent Party

Վերելք կուսակցություն
“Mind, Unity Strength”

Prime Ministerial Candidate: Aleksan Minasyan

Website: verelq.com

 

The Ascent Party’s national electoral list is headed by Aleksan Minasyan, who has been involved in the Armenian Armed Forces in various capacities since the early 1990s. In 1994, he founded and headed the Monte Melkonyan Military Academy. Two years later, Minasyan was appointed as the rector of Vazgen Sargsyan Military University. After his retirement from the Armed Forces in 2003, Minasyan founded the Union of Spies and the “Rock” Pan-Armenian youth non-governmental organizations.

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

269

1. Aleksan Minasyan
2. Artak Harutyunyan
3. Arsine Aghajanyan
4. Aram Gyurjyan
5. Tigran Grigoryan

6. Liana Stepanyan
7. Hrachya Minasyan
8. Grigor Minasyan
9. Paytsar Grbashyan
10. Samvel Gabrielyan

21. Liberal Party

Ազատական կուսակցություն
Prime Ministerial Candidate: Samvel Babayan

 

Samvel Babayan was a celebrated commander of Karabakh’s self-defense forces during and after the 1991-1994 war with Azerbaijan. In the 1990s, he was a powerful man: acclaimed as a Hero of Artsakh and serving as Defense Minister. In 2000, he was charged with an assassination attempt against then-President Arkadi Ghukasyan and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. While in prison, Babayan suffered from a number of illnesses that could not be treated while in custody and was therefore released early in 2004. Since then, Babayan mainly lived in Russia and returned to Armenia only in May 2016, following the Four Day April War.

Babayan was arrested again in 2017 in Armenia and was charged with money laundering and illegal arms possession; he denied the charges levelled against him. In November 2017, he was sentenced to six years in prison, but in June 2018 (two months after the Velvet Revolution), Armenia’s Court of Cassation overturned the verdict, setting Babayan free.

His United Homeland Party was among the contestants during the 2020 Artsakh parliamentary election. Although Babayan had announced his intention to participate in Artsakh’s 2020 presidential race, he did not meet the constitutional requirement of having resided in Artsakh for the previous 10 years. He was not even eligible to run for parliament, which requires residency in Artsakh for the past five years.

He founded the Liberal Party in the Republic of Armenia in 2021 after the 2020 Artsakh War.

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

273

1. Samvel Babayan
2. Siranush Rapyan
3. Sergey Sukiasyan
4. Aram Ghlechyan
5. Araksya Vardanyan

6. Vache Hovakimyan
7. Khachatur Arakelyan
8. Armine Khchoyan
9. Aram Mkrtichyan
10. Movses Musoyan

22. Armenians’ Eagles United Armenia Party  

Հայոց  Արծիվներ. Միասնական  Հայաստան կուսակցություն
Prime Ministerial Candidate: Khachik Asryan
Website: hayocartsivner.am

 

Armenians’ Eagles United Armenia Party was established in 2018 and the party, led by its founding President Khachik Asryan, will participate in its first parliamentary election on June 20. Between 2007 to 2018, Asryan was the Deputy Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs. He is also the Founding President of the Armenians’ Eagles patriotic non-governmental organization.

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

259

1. Khachik Asryan
2. Arayik Paronyan
3. Armine Vaghramyan
4. Edgar Avetisyan
5. Avetis Babajanyan

6. Romella Mosesyan
7. Samson Ziroyan
8. Hovik Grigoryan
9. Susanna Sukiasyan
10. Artur Ghazaryan

23. European Party of Armenia (EPA)

Հայաստանի եվրոպական կուսակցություն
Prime Ministerial Candidate: Tigran Khzmalyan
Website: armeuro.party

 

The European Party of Armenia (EPA) was established in 2018 by filmmaker Tigran Khzmalyan. During the First Karabakh War, Khzmalyan worked in Karabakh as a journalist for A1+ and Vesti news companies. He later worked as a political analyst for the Armenian Assembly of America, based in Washington, D.C. Khzmalyan had originally joined the National Democratic Axis with the Sasna Tsrer Pan-Armenian Party and former Armenian Ambassador to Canada Ara Papian. However, he left the Axis and the EPA is contesting the June 20 election alone. Ruben Hakhverdyan, a famous Armenian patriotic singer, is ranked second on the candidate list.

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

1. Tigran Khzmalyan
2. Ruben Hakhverdyan
3. Marganush Karapetyan
4. Nerses Zeynalvandyan
5. Marat Kostanyan

6. Armine Parsadanyan
7. Hasmik Barkhudaryan
8. Gagik Hunanyan
9. Jalil Jalilov
10. Samvel Hovhannisyan

24. Armenia Alliance

Հայաստան դաշինք
“Toward a Strong Armenia”

Prime Ministerial Candidate: Robert Kocharyan
Website: դաշինք.հայ

 

Armenia’s second President Robert Kocharyan, who has not been actively involved in Armenian politics after his term limit was reached in 2008, will lead the Armenia Electoral Alliance between the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) and the smaller Resurgent Armenia Party. After the Velvet Revolution, Kocharyan was charged with overthrowing the constitutional order in the aftermath of the 2008 presidential election that brought Serzh Sargsyan to power. After a two-year long trial, Kocharyan was acquitted by the court because of lack of evidence.

The Justice and Prosperity Party was founded in 2016. In 2019, it changed its name to the Resurgent Armenia Party. Its board primarily consists of mayors from Armenia’s southern Syunik region, including the cities of Goris, Meghri, Kajaran and Sisian.

The ARF was among the leading political forces of the Homeland Salvation Movement and a vocal critic of the Pashinyan administration both before and after the 2020 Artsakh War. It is one of the oldest political parties, established in 1890, and with a wide presence in Armenian diasporan communities as well as in Armenia. The ARF was banned in Armenia between 1994 to 1998 by personal decree of first President Levon Ter-Petrosyan and was only able to gain seats in Parliament after 1998, when Kocharyan came to power and lifted the ban. During the last 2018 early parliamentary election, the ARF secured 3.9% of the national vote, below the required minimum 5% threshold to get into Parliament.

Ranked third on the Armenia Alliance list is Anna Grigoryan, who was elected off the My Step open list for Syunik after the resignations of MPs that followed the 2020 Artsakh War. Grigoryan immediately left the My Step caucus upon taking her mandate and continued to sit as an independent.
 

263

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

1. Robert Kocharyan
2. Ishkhan Saghatelyan
3. Anna Grigoryan (interesting story, became MP from Syunik in December 2020)
4. Vahe Hakobyan
5. Armen Gevorgyan
6. Lilit Galstyan
7. Armen Rustamyan
8. Seyran Ohanyan
9. Elinar Vardanyan
10. Artsvik Minasyan 
 

25. National Democratic Axis Pan-Armenian Party

 Ազգային ժողովրդավարական բեվեռ համահայկական կուսակցություն

“Not the past, not the present, a national future!”

Prime Ministerial Candidate: Vahe Gasparyan

Website: ajbever.com

 

The Sasna Tsrer (Daredevils of Sassoun) group, named after an 8th century Armenian epic poem, took over a police station in Yerevan in July 2016, killing a police officer and taking several others hostage. Most members of the group are veterans of the Karabakh War (1991-1994). The demands of the gunmen included the release of Jirayr Sefilian, Karabakh war veteran and leader of the radical opposition Founding Parliament; the resignation of then-President Serzh Sargsyan; and the immediate halt of any potential talks ceding territory from Artsakh to Azerbaijan.

The Sasna Tsrer registered as a political party in 2018, following the Velvet Revolution but did not meet the threshold during the 2018 parliamentary election. In 2020, they formed the National Democratic Axis as a cooperation platform with the European Party of Armenia (EPA) and former Armenian Ambassador to Canada Ara Papian. In 2021, although the EPA left the group, the National Democratic Axis Pan-Armenian Party was registered as a separate political party. For the 2021 election, their list includes candidates who maintained their Sasna Tsrer party affiliation.

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

283

1. Vahe Gasparyan
2. Varuzhan Avetisyan
3. Cara Chobanyan
4. Garegin Chugaszyan
5. Areg Kyureghyan

6. Naira Badalyan
7. Artur Ayvazyan
8. Gevorg Safaryan
9. Anahit Tadevosyan
10. Vahagn Avagyan

26. Sovereign Armenia Party

Ինքնիշխան Հայաստան կուսակցություն

Prime Ministerial Candidate: Davit Sanasaryan
Website: ihk.am

 

Sovereign Armenia is among the many new political parties that have registered during the past several months. The party was officially founded in April 2021 by Davit Sanasaryan, who is a former member of Pashinyan’s Civil Contract Party and a leading member of the “Reject Serzh” initiative that brought down the former government. Prior to joining Civil Contract, Sanasaryan was a member of the Heritage Party. Following the 2018 Velvet Revolution, Sanasaryan was appointed to head Armenia’s state anti-corruption agency (the State Oversight Service). His duties were temporarily suspended after he was charged with abuse of power back in 2019. Although the investigation is still ongoing, Sanasaryan resigned from the post at the beginning of 2021.

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

286

1. Davit Sanasaryan
2. Zhurem Poghosyan
3. Narine Martirosyan
4. Hovsep Ghazaryan
5. Avetis Avetisyan

6. Hamaspyur Avagyan
7. Arman Petrosyan
8. Sergey Dallakyan
9. Sayida Poghosyan
10. Artur Hayrapetyan


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