By Karine Kalantarian
Arshak Sadoyan, a prominent opposition leader, was denied on Saturday official registration as a candidate in next month’s parliamentary elections from a constituency in central Yerevan.
The local electoral commission refused to add Sadoyan’s name to the list of candidates, saying that his property declaration, submitted along with other registration documents, contained inaccurate information. At issue was the size of Sadoyan’s Yerevan apartment. The government-controlled commission said it found a discrepancy between the figures submitted by the candidate and the government’s real estate registry.
Sadoyan, who has been a parliament deputy for nearly 13 years, said it is just a pretext to bar him from the parliamentary race and pledged to appeal the decision in the court on Monday.
The veteran parliamentarian, highly popular with the opposition electorate for his tough anti-government rhetoric, is a leading member of the opposition Artarutyun (Justice) alliance. As well as running for the next National Assembly under the system of proportional representation, he has been nominated as a candidate in the capital’s No. 15 single-mandate district.
Also in contention there are seven other candidates, including two other members of the outgoing Armenian parliament. One of them is tycoon Khachatur Sukiasian. All seven candidates were registered by the commission on Saturday.
According to the newspaper “Haykakan Zhamanak,” the authorities refused to register on Friday two other opposition candidates, Armen Sarkisian and Eduard Madatian. The former is the brother of Aram Sarkisian, a former prime minister and one of Artarutyun leaders.
Armen Sarkisian is currently in jail pending investigation into his alleged role in the December murder of Tigran Naghdalian, the head of Armenia’s state television and radio. Sarkisian, who denies the charges, hoped to run in a constituency in his home town of Ararat. Armenian law allows individuals kept in pre-trial detention to contest various-level elections.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” said a local electoral commission accused the arrested candidate of submitting unspecified “false information” in his registration papers.
The deadline for the registration of candidates for the May 25 parliamentary elections, set by the Central Election Commission, is next Sunday.