Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian’s ruling Republican Party (HHK) has signed a coalition agreement with the smaller Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), a party official told reporters on May 11.
Sarkisian’s Republican Party won 58 of the 105 seats in parliamentary elections on April 2, surpassing the 50 percent level, but the coalition agreement was nevertheless important to the HHK’s ability to form a government.
Legislative rules require a three-fifths majority to win approval for appointments such as Constitutional Court judges, the general prosecutor, chairman of the appeals court, central bank chairman, and election officials.
In addition, the passing of important laws, such as the electoral and judicial codes, laws on holding referendums, and legislation related to the Constitutional Court also require the approval of three-fifths of the parliament.
With the addition of seven seats from the ARF, it will surpass the three-fifths level of 63 seats by two.
“We have a number of similarities in our value systems…that will determine the cooperation between two national parties during the coming five years,” said Armen Ashotyan, vice chairman of the Republican Party.
The Republican Party won 49.15 percent of the April 2 vote, with the center-right Tsarukian Alliance, led by Russia-friendly tycoon Gagik Tsarukian, winning 27.37 percent.
The nationalist ARF, which was part of the previous ruling coalition with the Republicans, won about 6.57 percent of the April 2 vote.
Some international observers said the voting process was “tainted” by reports of vote-buying and pressure on voters.
In the previous coalition agreement, the ARF had three ministerial posts — economy, education, and local administration.
The terms of the new coalition deal were not immediately announced.
In the past, the ARF, also known as Dashnaktsutiun, has antagonized neighboring Turkey by making territorial claims.
Armenia and Turkey have clashed over Armenian demands that Turkey take responsibility for the mass killing and deportation of some 1.5 million Armenians during World War I by the Ottoman Empire.
The atrocities suffered by the Armenians have been classed as genocide by Yerevan and more than a dozen states.
Although Turkey admits many Christian Armenians were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces, it denies the killings were orchestrated and constituted a genocide.