The Regional Studies Center (RSC) released a new report, “Armenia: Pre-Election Assessment,” RSC Special Analysis, Volume II No. 1, 31 January 2013..
In one of Armenia’s least competitive elections, incumbent Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian looks certain to be re-elected to a second term. But with an especially weak field of candidates, the lack of real competition may only exacerbate the need for sufficient voter turnout. It also increases pressure for a much improved ballot this time and, if as expected, President Sarkisian secures reelection, he will face raised expectations and greater demands for reform.
Only nine months since parliamentary elections, the official campaign for Armenia’s February 18, 2013 presidential election is now underway. As incumbent President Serzh Sarkisian is running for a second presidential term, he faces a field of diverse, but generally marginal candidates. In light of the pronounced lack of any real competition, the more significant test for Armenia is over the conduct, rather than the result of the election. A second related challenge from a generally one-sided race stems from the need to ensure sufficient voter turnout, especially given the lack of pluralistic competition, the lackluster campaign discourse and a perception of low voter interest. Yet at the same time, a second Sarkisian term will also offer a new opportunity for deeper reform, and a fresh chance for statesmanship and legacy, but for whoever becomes the next Armenian president, the imperative will be to tackle a litany of serious, and unresolved, strategic challenges that have gone largely unaddressed during the campaign.
The Regional Studies Center (RSC) also held a special briefing on 23 January, offering a special assessment of the upcoming Armenian presidential election. The briefing presentation focused on five specific aspects of the Armenian pre-election situation: (1) general pre-election observations; (2) an analysis of the election campaign; (3) an identification of five specific election challenges; (4) implications from the election; and (5) election surprises.
For the summary notes from that presentation, go to: