STEPANAKERT—On Tuesday, the Speaker of the Artsakh National Assembly Ashot Ghulyan convened a meeting with heads of the Parliament’s Standing Committees and factions and staff members to finalize preparations for a special session of parliament to be held Wednesday to elect a new president.
The special election is in line with Artsakh’s new constitution, which was approved during a referendum in February. After Wednesday, the president will remain in office until the end of the parliamentary term, which concludes in 2020, when Artsakh will switch to a presidential form of government.
Artsakh President Bako Sahakian is expected to be named as the interim president, since he enjoys the support of three out of four factions represented in parliament, including the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.
Eduard Aghabekian, a former mayor of Stepanakert, is challenging Sahakian’s candidacy. He is supported by Movement 88 faction, which holds three seats in the current legislature.
The latest elections in Artsakh have rattled officials in Baku, who, once again, have said that such steps by Stepanakert undermine the Karabakh peace process and the threaten the stability of the region.
“As we have stated repeatedly, free, fair, transparent and competitive elections, as an integral part of political processes in the Republic of Artsakh (NagornoKarabakh Republic), are aimed at organizing the public life in the Republic and forming government through democratic procedure. They can in no way have a negative impact on the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs for a peaceful settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict. This position was confirmed in one form or another by the Minsk Group Co-Chairs in their numerous statements,” said Artak Nersisyan, an Artsakh Foreign Ministry spokesperson in response to a press inquiry by news.am.
“Moreover, the mediators also noted the role of the people of NagornoKarabakh in determining their future within the framework of the settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict. We believe that elections are one of the forms of expressing the will of the people, and therefore their conduct is fully consistent with the logic of a peaceful settlement of the conflict,” added Nersisyan.
“Azerbaijan’s negative reaction to the political processes in Artsakh is caused not by concern for the efforts of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs, which Baku itself undermines in every possible way, but the desire to exclude the very existence of Artsakh,” the spokesperson explained.
“It is obvious that the irreversibility of strengthening the statehood of Artsakh and its institutions causes a nervous reaction from Baku. Moreover, Azerbaijan’s rejection of the objective reality is one of the main obstacles in the process of the settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict,” said Nersisyan