Country Report Armenia November 1998 Main report

Outlook for 1999-2000: Pol'l parties gear up for parl'tary election--

The political parties are gearing up for the parliamentary election due to take place in July 1999. The rejection by parliament of the fourth draft of the election law means that it is increasingly likely that the forthcoming parliamentary election will be held without the new legislation in place. The main election battle will be between Yerkrapah, led by the defence minister, Vazgen Sarkisian, and the Armenian Pan- National Movement, the party of the former president, Levon Ter-Petrosian, which is led by Vano Siradeghian. Other serious contenders are the National Party of Armenia, led by Karen Demirchian, the main opponent of President Kocharian in the 1998 election, and the Dashnaks, led by Vahan Hovanisian. The National Party of Armenia and the Dashnaks would do better under a system with a higher percentage of proportional seats. Other parties, such as the Self-Determination Union, led by Paruir Hairikian, the National Democratic Union, led by Vagen Manukian, and the Communist Party of Armenia, led by Sergey Badalian, have a fixed electorate and are thus likely to maintain the same number of seats.

--bringing greater cabinet representation of the political parties

The president does not belong to any political party. Although in the presidential election he relied on the support of the Justice and Unity alliance, which includes the Yerkrapah bloc, the Dashnaks and the Self- Determination Union, none of the parties was asked to form the government. Instead the president formed a government of professionals consisting of mainly non- partisan political figures. This is likely to change after next year's parliamentary election, when the president can gauge the standing of each political party among the electorate, and also the extent to which it supports him.

© 1998 The Economist lntelligence Unit Ltd. All rights reserved
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