Preliminary official results of Armenia’s parliamentary elections released on Monday morning gave a landslide victory to President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) that will enable it tighten control of the National Assembly.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) said that with more than 90 percent of ballots counted, the HHK received just over 44 percent of votes cast under the system of proportional representation. Its junior partner in the governing coalition, the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), came in a distant second with 30.3 percent of the vote.
According to the CEC, all other major election contenders fared much more poorly, winning just enough to be represented in the parliament. The main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) finished third with just over 7 percent. It was followed by two other major opposition groups, the Zharangutyun (Heritage) party and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), which had roughly 5.8 percent and 5.7 percent respectively.
Orinats Yerkir, the third party represented in Sarkisian’s coalition government, got 5.48 percent, also passing the legal vote threshold for having parliament seats on the party-list basis. Armenian law reserves 90 of the 131 parliament seats for the proportional representation system.
The CEC vote tally also showed that the ruling HHK grabbed at least 28 of the remaining 41 seats that were distributed in nationwide single-mandate constituencies. The vast majority of them are wealthy businesspeople heavily reliant on their government levers and financial resources. No opposition candidate seems to have won in any of the single-seat districts.
The HHK was thus on course to have at least 70 seats in the new Armenian parliament. Its faction in the previous legislature officially numbered 63 members.
The BHK, which prevailed in 7 single-mandate districts, should increase its representation from 26 to 34 seats. The party led by businessman Gagik Tsarukian apparently had more ambitious electoral goals, though.
There was no official reaction to the preliminary vote results from the BHK and the three main opposition forces as of Monday morning.
Speaking at a joint news conference held shortly before the release of the first official figures at midnight, senior representatives of the BHK, the HAK and Dashnaktsutyun brushed aside as “extremely incredible” the CEC claim that more than 62 percent of Armenia’s eligible voters took part in the elections, accusing the authorities of grossly inflating the turnout. In a joint statement, they said that figure is “only deepening suspicions regarding the legal course of the elections.”
At the same time, the three political forces refrained from delivering a common verdict on the authorities’ handling of the vote and its legitimacy. They said they need at least several more hours to process all the relevant information and work out a joint stance.
But HAK coordinator Levon Zurabian did condemn the elections as “disgraceful,” saying that the authorities have resorted to “the full range of falsifications” to secure an election outcome sought by President Sarkisian’s party. “The regime once again had a chance to see that it cannot cling to power without vote rigging,” he told reporters.
Zurabian also made clear that the opposition bloc will go ahead with a rally in Yerevan’s Liberty Square planned for Tuesday regardless of Dashnaktsutyun’s and the BHK’s positions.