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Post-Election Armenia: Global Changes in Politics in the Context of Karabakh Settlement Are Not Expected


As a result of the parliamentary elections in Armenia on April 2 from 5 parties and 4 alliances only 2 parties - the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, Dashnaktsutyun (ARF) - and 2 alliances - "Tsarukyan" and "Yelq" will be represented in the Parliament. According to the official results, the ruling RPA got 58 seats in the parliament, "Tsarukyan" alliance – 31, "Yelq" – 9, ARF – 7. These are the forces that in conditions of the parliamentary governance will dictate the foreign policy of Armenia in the coming years.

It is no secret that the Karabakh conflict settlement is of paramount importance among Armenia’s foreign policy priorities. Probably this is the reason why the Karabakh conflict settlement became one of the key topics of the pre-election discourse.

In order to understand which direction Armenia will follow after parliamentary elections, one should consider the positions of the forces that have passed to parliament in accordance with the provisions of their electoral programs.

Particularly, ARF differs in its position on the Karabakh settlement. The party considers that "there is no single issue of Artsakh, it is an integral part of the Armenian issue". ARF says "Artsakh needs to be reunited with Mother Armenia, and the independence of Artsakh is a temporary solution of tactical importance for us." Thus, Dashnaktsutyun proposes "to strengthen the military-political cooperation of Armenia and Artsakh" and "to make efforts to attract Artsakh as a full member in the negotiations concerning its future".

A rather distinguished stance on Karabakh conflict settlement has "Yelq" alliance, which considers taking measures to "restore the military balance between Armenia and Azerbaijan" as a first step towards the Karabakh conflict settlement. The alliance excludes the possibility of mutual concessions "in conditions of aggressive policy and militant rhetoric of Azerbaijan", stressing that "Azerbaijan’ clear readiness to recognize Artsakh's right to self-determination is a condition to discuss any compromise".

The"Tsarukyan" alliance notes that "the final goal of Karabakh conflict settlement is the international recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic". The alliance says "Karabakh problem should be solved peacefully, on the basis of mutual consent and compromise". At the same time "Tsarukyan" alliance stresses that "the fate of NKR cannot be solved without its participation".

The aim of the RPA is that "the final status of Nagorno Karabakh was determined by the population of Artsakh." The party supports "the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs to promote the peace negotiation process aimed at fair solution of the problem". The importance "of the involvement of the Republic of Artsakh as a full party in negotiations" is also stressed. At the same time RPA says it is necessary "to continue providing multilateral support to the political and economic development of Artsakh".

The results of the elections showed the public reaction to the approaches of the forces on the Karabakh settlement as well. Particularly, the results showed that for example that the approaches of the alliance of "Congress-NPA" on Karabakh conflict settlement are unacceptable to the majority of Armenian citizens.

In conclusion, taking into consideration the fact that the ruling Republican Party of Armenia will form a stable majority in the parliament global changes in the politics in the context of Karabakh conflict settlement are not expected. Of course, some small changes may take place, for example, there is a tendency of toughening the position.

As for differences in the approaches of the other three forces in the parliament, they will emerge during discussions on Karabakh conflict in the parliament, but they cannot have a decisive influence on the decision-making process.

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