The Armenian parliament is one step closer to being disbanded as it voted down Nikol Pashinyan’s candidacy as a formality today in the first round of electing a prime minister.
No one voted in favor, 1 MP voted against, and 11 lawmakers abstained.
53 votes are required to elect a prime minister.
The Yelk faction nominated incumbent acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s candidacy as a formality in a pre-arranged scenario of not being elected in order to trigger the process of dissolution of parliament.
Pashinyan tendered a technical resignation on October 16 in order to launch the process of calling early elections.
Under the law, if a prime minister resigns lawmakers must elect a new PM within two weeks. If MPs fail to elect a PM during the first vote, a second round takes place a week later.
Prior to the vote, parliamentary factions must nominate candidates for the election. All factions agreed that they wouldn’t nominate anyone in order to pave way for dissolution. But the Yelk faction nominated incumbent Nikol Pashinyan in a technical maneuver because the Constitution says that a “vote” must take place. Lawmakers are expected to deliberately vote down Pashinyan in order to fail the election and head for eventual dissolution, and early elections.
Pashinyan took office after massive protests in April forced president-turned PM Serzh Sargsyan to resign. But Sargsyan’s Republican Party (HHK) still has most seats in parliament. Since taking office, PM Nikol Pashinyan has numerously said that the incumbent parliament doesn’t represent the people and that early elections should take place as soon as possible.
Below is an excerpt from Article 149 of the Constitution of Armenia on Election and Appointment of the Prime Minister:
“In case the Prime Minister submits a resignation or in other cases of the office of the Prime Minister becoming vacant, the factions of the National Assembly shall be entitled to nominate candidates for Prime Minister within a period of seven days after accepting the resignation of the Government. The National Assembly shall elect the Prime Minister by majority of votes of the total number of Deputies [Members of Parliament].
In case Prime Minister is not elected, a new election of Prime Minister shall be held seven days after voting, wherein the candidates for Prime Minister nominated by at least one third of the total number of Deputies shall be entitled to participate. In case Prime Minister is not elected by majority of votes of the total number of Deputies, the National Assembly shall be dissolved by virtue of law”.