By Emil Danielyan
Opposition leader Stepan Demirchian and his recently formed Artarutyun (Justice) alliance held out on Friday hope for a Constitutional Court ruling that will annul the results of the recent presidential election.
Leaders of the electoral bloc told thousands of supporters in Yerevan that they have mustered compelling evidence of vote rigging which will make it difficult for the court to uphold President Robert Kocharian’s controversial reelection.
“Please believe that the Constitutional Court can take such a decision,” Aram Sarkisian of the Hanrapetutyun party said, seeking to dispel widespread skepticism about such an outcome reigning among many opposition supporters.
“Armenia’s future depends on the decision to be taken by the Constitutional Court,” Sarkisian added. “We have no right to squander such a chance.”
Addressing yet another pro-Demirchian rally, other opposition leaders similarly indicated that their post-election campaign will now be focused on the upcoming legal proceedings. The Constitutional Court decided earlier this week to consider the appeal filed by the Demirchian campaign. But it has not yet set a date for the start of hearings.
The court, which has never seriously challenged incumbent presidents throughout its seven-year existence, on Monday rejected a similar appeal filed by another defeated presidential candidate, Artashes Geghamian. Artarutyun leaders said they will make a much more convincing case for the annulment of the two-round presidential vote strongly criticized by international observers. They said they will submit more than 1,700 pages of documents proving their allegations of massive fraud.
Kocharian has admitted that there were “numerous irregularities” during the March 5 run-off vote, insisted that they could not have affected its outcome.
Demirchian, who was again enthusiastically greeted by the crowd, said the opposition will continue to fight for Kocharian’s resignation. Demirchian also denounced the recent wave of arrests of opposition supporters on charges stemming from their participation in his continuing campaign of street protests.
“I want to express my solidarity with those innocent people,” he said. “It is impossible to continuously cling to power with repression.”