Acting PM Pashinyan: Steel revolution will replace Velvet
During his final meeting with voters amidst the upcoming early parliamentary elections in Armenia, at the main square of Yerevan, acting Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan announced that the steel revolution will replace the Velvet one. This is how acting PM and leader of the ruling Civil Contract parry responded to his supporters who believe that he did not fight hard enough.
According to Pashinyan, initially, the rally was planned to be held there, but on June 18. But it was postponed to June 17 in order to avoid possible collisions. The main opponent of the Civil Contract party in these elections, the Hayastan bloc (Armenia), headed by ex-President Robert Kocharian, is going to hold a rally on the same square in Yerevan on June 18.
Early parliamentary elections in Armenia are held to overcome the crisis that hit the country immediately after the end of the war in Karabakh and Armenia’s defeat. A large number of political forces are participating – a total of 21 parties and 4 blocs.
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Before the start of Nikol Pashinyan’s rally, another scandal took place in Yerevan. Campaign posters of the Civil Contract party were installed on the building of the National Gallery, in the very center of the capital – on Republic Square, where the rally was to take place. The night before, there was a video projection of the same theme on the government building located on that square. The Election Control Committee considered it a violation of the law.
What happened at the rally
A crowded rally in the square of supporters of Pashinyan and his team began with the anthem of Armenia, and then minutes of silence – the audience honored the memory of those killed during the second Karabakh war.
Nikol Pashinyan attended the closing rally with his entire family, including his youngest 6-year-old daughter.
During his speech, Pashinyan addressed the issues that are of the greatest concern to society and on which are most criticized by other participants in the elections.
In particular, Nikol Pashinyan, once again, denied the statement of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on the opening of the so-called Zangezur Corridor – the land road between Azerbaijan and its exclave Nakhichevan autonomy:
“Armenia has not discussed and will not discuss the issue of creating any corridor. We completely rule out any change in the status of the sovereign territory of Armenia within the framework of unblocking communications”.
Pashinyan called the statements of the leaders of Turkey and Azerbaijan about Armenia’s provision of a corridor through its territory absurd:
“We have stated our position very clearly. Economic communications in the region must be unblocked. The countries will receive these communication opportunities equally, as stated in the statement adopted on January 11 in Moscow. Armenia is ready to implement the points of this statement”.
According to the head of government, the prospect of unblocking communications is hindered by Azerbaijan’s aggressive statements, failure to fulfill its obligations and the retention of Armenian prisoners of war, who are still not returned to their homeland after the second Karabakh war.
At the end of the rally, Pashinyan asked those present to step aside and give him the opportunity to go to the pre-election debates on the air of Public Television. Taking this opportunity, he invited his rivals who had harshly criticized the ruling team and himself during all the days of the election campaign to participate in them.
This was not the first invitation personally from Nikol Pashinyan to all his political opponents – to take part in debates and discuss the Karabakh issue. However, all of his main rivals – and these are all the former presidents of Armenia – rejected the proposal.
Violations of Pashinyan’s party
Users of the Armenian Facebook segment did not like the fact that the huge propaganda posters of the Civil Agreement were hung on the wall of the National Gallery building.
The criticism of the voters was so harsh that Nikol Pashinyan’s party came up with explanations:
“In response to inquiries, we inform you that today a nationwide rally of the Civil Contract party will take place on Republic Square, within the framework of which posters will be hanging behind the stage, which is part of the design of the rally”.
However, this explanation did not satisfy the Election Monitoring Committee. He published a statement that the law allows the use of such campaign materials only during the campaign event and not 8-10 hours before. The committee demanded to eliminate the violation.