Armenia still has one-and-a-half party system

Armenia still has one-and-a-half party system

On December 9, for the first time in many years, Armenia held elections, results of which can't be doubted by society or any political forces. Early parliamentary elections were praised by local and international observers, who highlighted absence of bribing of voters this time. Over the past 10 years, bribery, along with various manipulations with voter lists, has been one of the most common violations.

"My Step" bloc, headed by acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, won elections with 70.43%. Second and third places were taken by the Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) (8.27%) and "Bright Armenia"(6.37%). Eemaining eight participants in pre-election race couldn't get above five percent barrier and didn't get into the parliament. As a result, “My step” received 88 mandates out of 132, PPA received 26, and “Bright Armenia” 18. So now Armenia's parliament has three de-ideologized political forces. PAP and “Bright Armenia” are likely to support authorities in political issues. Some experts already believe that “Bright Armenia” in the new parliament will play the role of a pocket opposition. Political scientists believe that real opposition will appear in the “My Step” block itself.

Either way, legitimate power has been finally formed in Armenia, although quality of this power raises a lot of questions. At the same time, internal political structure hasn't changed - total political monopoly of the Republican Party has turned into monopoly of the “My Step” bloc.

Armenia still has one-and-a-half party system: power belongs to the party, which has huge advantage in the parliament, which also has party that either is the opposition or plays role of the opposition, but doesn't have decisive influence on any processes.

Similar one-and-a-half party system formed in Armenia in 1995 and continued in to evolve until 2007, when it was finally established in full. In 2003, the Justice bloc played the role of opposition, in 2007 - the Heritage party, in 2012 - the Armenian National Congress, in 2017 - the Yelk bloc, and now the PPA and "Bright Armenia" are playing this role. However, all listed political forces had no influence on internal political processes, they just helped to create image of democracy. In this regard, Armenia is not the only country like that in the post-Soviet space. It's important to note that from now on Pashinyan, who received vote of public confidence, can no longer claim that counter-revolutionaries are hindering him and his policy. It's no longer possible to blame opposition of the country, since he's Prime Minister and holds complete authority.

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