By Hovannes Shoghikian
Armenia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) has released the final results of the May 12 parliamentary elections that formalized the landslide victory of the Republican Party (HHK) of Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian.
According to the official results made public at the weekend, the HHK won almost 33 percent of votes cast for parties and will directly hold 64 of the 131 seats in the National Assembly. Forty-one of those seats were won under the system of proportional representation, while the 23 others in single-member individual constituencies.
The ruling party is also assured of the backing of nine other, nominally independent parliamentarians, giving it a de facto absolute majority in the newly elected Armenian parliament. Sarkisian will thus be in a position to form his new cabinet without the backing of other parties loyal to President Robert Kocharian.
The biggest of them, the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), came in a distant second with 14.7 percent of the proportional vote and 18 parliament seats, 7 of them won in single-member electoral districts.
The BHK was followed by another pro-Kocharian party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), which got 12.8 percent of the vote and will have 16 deputies in the assembly. All of them were elected on the party list basis, with none of the Dashnaktsutyun candidates prevailing in the individual constituencies. Virtually all of those constituencies were swept by wealthy individuals with close ties to the government.
The final CEC tally also confirmed that only two opposition parties cleared the 5 percent threshold for entering the parliament under the proportional system. It showed the Orinats Yerkir Party of former parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian winning 6.8 percent of the vote and 9 parliament seats. The Zharangutyun party of Raffi Hovannisian will have 7 seats.
Both opposition groups have rejected the official figures as fraudulent, with Orinats Yerkir planning to challenge them in Armenia’s Constitutional Court later this week. The CEC chairman, Garegin Azarian, insisted, however, that Armenia held the most democratic elections in its history. Western monitors have similarly said that they largely met democratic standards.
Eighteen other parties and one bloc that contested the elections will thus not be represented in the new parliament, even though they polled a combined 27 percent of the vote. The effectively lost votes, the bulk of them cast for opposition parties, were distributed among the more successful contenders, earning the HHK an extra 9 seats.