Armenians are voting in a national election after months of tensions over last year’s defeat in fighting against Azerbaijan over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The snap parliamentary election was called by Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in a bid to resolve public anger over the peace deal he signed in November that triggered months of protests demanding his resignation. He stepped down from the premiership as required by law to allow the election to take place but remains the country’s leader.
The Moscow-brokered agreement ended six weeks of fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces, but saw Azerbaijan reclaim control over large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas that had been held by Armenian forces for more than a quarter-century.
Thousands of Armenians took to the streets in the capital Yerevan to protest the deal as a betrayal of their national interests. Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but was under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by the government in Yerevan since a separatist war ended in 1994, leaving the region and substantial surrounding territory in Armenian hands.