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Armenia election violations may show level of Karabakh escalation: Jane’s

Armenia election violations may show level of Karabakh escalation: Jane’s

March 25
The degree of irregularities in Armenia's general election will likely determine the level of protests and escalation in Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh), an article on Jane’s Defense Weekly says. On April 2, Armenia will hold its first general election since the adoption of constitutional amendments in a nationwide referendum on December 6, 2015. The constitutional changes transform the country's political system from a presidential to a parliamentary model in February 2018, after President Serzh Sargsyan's current term expires. The ruling Republican Party of Armenia's dominance on political scene is likely to end after the elections, the article suggests. “Azerbaijan might well be tempted, given Armenia's preoccupation with the elections, particularly if there are widespread protests, to initiate a controlled escalation of the Karabakh conflict,” the publication assumes. “The degree of Russian influence over Armenia is likely to depend on the level of political pluralism in the new parliament, which will become more empowered in 2018, in accordance with the recently adopted constitutional amendments.” Improved voter verification and polling station surveillance mitigate risks of outright voter fraud, but vote-buying is likely to continue, the journal adds.
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