YEREVAN — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said his Civil Contract party will score a “crushing” victory in Sunday’s parliamentary elections as he addressed on Thursday thousands of supporters rallying in Yerevan.
“The people of Armenia will certainly and undoubtedly win with a crushing percentage [of votes,]” Pashinyan told the crowd that gathered in the city’s central Republic Square. “And yes, everything is decided because the people of Armenia have already decided everything in their minds, hearts and souls.”
“Armenia’s citizens have decided that there is a future in Armenia. There is a future!” he said, chanting Civil Contract’s campaign motto.
Pashinyan went on to urge supporters to gather in the sprawling square on Monday to celebrate the ruling party’s victory. He said it will mark the beginning of an Armenian “steel revolution” involving tougher methods of governance.
Pashinyan said his campaign rallies held across the country have demonstrated that most Armenians continue to support their government despite last year’s disastrous war with Azerbaijan, which left at least 3,700 Armenian soldiers dead.
In his hour-long speech at the rally Pashinyan did not comment on reasons for that defeat. He instead criticized Azerbaijan’s continuing aggressive statements and unconstructive position in the post-war period.
The premier said at the same time that he looks forward to the opening of transport links between Armenia and Azerbaijan envisaged by the truce accord. He said this will allow Armenia to have rail links with Russia and Iran via Azerbaijan.
He reiterated that in this regard the government has not discussed, does not discuss and will not discuss any issue within the “corridor logic.” “In other words, in the context of the opening of communications, we completely rule out the change of the status of any sovereign territory of Armenia,” Pashinyan said.
Pashinyan reiterated his pledges to deepen Russian-Armenian relations, calling them “the pivot of our security.” He also called for the launch of a “strategic dialogue” with Iran.