By Emil Danielyan
President Robert Kocharian congratulated Armenians Monday on his administration’s conduct of the weekend parliamentary elections, saying that they were free and fair and marked “another major step towards democracy.”
“[The elections] were free, fair, and transparent, which is certified by the Central Election Commission, law-enforcement bodies, as well as local and international observers,” he said in a written address to the nation. “I congratulate all of us on taking yet another step towards democracy.”
Kocharian said authorities will “meticulously examine” and redress all irregularities reported during the vote. He also urged election contenders to end election-related recriminations and “restore the atmosphere of mutual tolerance” now that the official vote results have been announced.
According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), the Republican Party (HHK) of Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian won about 34 percent of the vote and will control nearly half of the 131 seats in the National Assembly. The Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) of Kocharian-connected tycoon Gagik Tsarukian came in a distant second, followed by another major pro-presidential party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun.)
Kocharian visited the HHK headquarters in downtown Yerevan to congratulate it on the landslide victory on Monday. He also extended congratulations to Tsarukian and other BHK leaders that visited the presidential palace later in the day.
The CEC figures showed the BHK winning just over 200,000 votes, or half the number of members the party claims to have. Tsarukian clearly hoped for a better performance. The party, which will likely have just over 20 parliament seats, has yet to react to the election outcome.
Dashnaktsutyun, which was given 13 percent of the vote, will comment on the official tally on Tuesday. Kocharian telephoned a top leader of Dashnaktsutyun, Hrant Markarian, on Monday to praise the nationalist party’s showing.
(Photolur photo: Kocharian pictured while casting a ballot on Saturday.)