Armenia PM Nikol Pashinian's alliance wins by landslide

Armenians appeared to overwhelmingly back protest leader and current acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in early parliamentary elections on Sunday.

With results from 90 percent of precincts, Pashinian's My Step alliance has garnered over 70 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results released by the Armenian Central Electoral Commission.

The Republican Party, which controlled the old parliament and is headed by former Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan, suffered a massive defeat and came in at just over 4 percent, according to the early results.

Voter turnout for Sunday's election was around 48 percent, significantly down from the 60 percent voter turnout rate in the 2017 parliamentary election.

From protest leader to prime minister

Pashinian, a 43-year-old former journalist, took office in May after leading massive anti-corruption protests against his predecessor, Sargsyan.

He then pushed for the early elections in order to gather a strong mandate for his alliance and win control of the parliament, which was led by Sargsyan's Republicans.

Sargsyan's critics accused him of trying to hold on to power by becoming prime minister after serving two terms as president. A constitutional amendment in 2015 shifted the country from a presidential system to a parliamentary one, granting more power to the prime minister.

rs/cmk (AP, AFP, dpa)

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