President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) praised the conduct of Armenia’s parliamentary elections on Sunday, saying that “isolated” irregularities did not compromise their freedom and fairness.
“The electoral process is right now proceeding mainly in conformity with the Electoral Code. Isolated cases [of fraud] can not compromise the integrity of the elections,” Armen Ashotian, the education minister and an HHK deputy chairman, said less than two hours before the closure of the polls.
“I condemn all those confirmed cases of violation of the Electoral Code,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “But there have not been many such cases as yet. We will wait until law-enforcement bodies circulate final reports.”
Ashotian also accused the HHK’s political opponents of trying to tarnish the elections with unsubstantiated accusations. “Although some forces are trying to cast shadow on the elections by making reckless statements and declaring a pre-planned information war against the Republicans, all those attempts have failed,” he said. “Most weapons used in that information war are either outdated or fraudulent.”
Ashotian refused to name those forces.
HHK leaders and President Sarkisian in particular have for months assured the domestic public and the international community that the May 6 vote should be the most democratic in the country’s post-Soviet history. Opposition groups have dismissed those pledges, saying that the ruling party will go to great lengths to retain its parliamentary majority.