YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused Armenia’s outgoing parliament of “sabotage” on Monday, October 22, after it failed to approve proposed amendments to the Electoral Code drafted by his government for snap general elections expected in December.
Upon the decision of Speaker of Parliament Ara Babloyan, a special session will be convened on October 29, the parliament’s press service said.
The electoral code amendments bill will be once again debated after a group of lawmakers began a petition to convene a special sitting and re-introduce the bill. The required amount of signatures was gathered.
The amendments, formally approved by the government on October 16, are aimed at facilitating the proper conduct of the elections. They would, among other things, change the existing legal mechanism for distributing seats in the National Assembly which many believe favored Serzh Sargsyan’s Republican Party (HHK) in the last parliamentary elections held in April 2017.
Under Armenia’s constitution, any amendment to the Electoral Code must be backed by at least 63 members of the 105-member parliament. Only 56 lawmakers voted for the government bill.
Pashinyan was quick to accuse the parliament majority of “sabotaging” the work of his cabinet. “They hope that in this way they will manage to turn the fresh parliamentary elections into an instrument for political revenge,” he said. “But I want to make clear that even if the elections are held under the existing Electoral Code that will not change anything because the victory of the people is inevitable and cannot be stolen by anyone.”