Pashinian Supporters Pack Central Yerevan Square Ahead Of Snap Poll

Thousands of supporters of Armenian caretaker Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian have gathered in the center of the capital for his last campaign rally ahead of early parliamentary elections this weekend.

Addressing his supporters packing Yerevan’s central Republic Square on June 17, Pashinian said security, law, and justice, as well as economic and human development would be his priorities if he returns to his post after the June 20 vote.

“Higher standards of justice and law create new opportunities for economic development,” he said.

The June 20 poll is aimed at resolving a political crisis that has engulfed the country since last fall’s war against Azerbaijan over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

A close race to control a majority in the 120-seat parliament is expected for first place between Pashinian’s Civil Contract party and the newly created Armenia Alliance of former President Robert Kocharian.

The 60-year-old Pashinian swept to power in 2018 after leading massive demonstrations that ousted his predecessor.

His popularity has plummeted since he signed a Russian-brokered cease-fire deal in November 2020 that halted a six-week war between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.

The deal saw Armenia hand over swaths of territory around the region that ethnic Armenians had controlled since the early 1990s.

The conflict claimed at least 6,900 lives.