Armenia’s Administrative Court refused on Monday to invalidate the official results of the May 5 municipal elections in Yerevan, throwing out an appeal by Raffi Hovannisian’s opposition bloc.
The Barev Yerevan bloc presented the court with almost 1,000 pages of documents which it said prove vote rigging in favor of the ruling Republican Party (HHK), the official election winner. They included copies of vote protocols from precinct election commissions, complaints lodged by opposition proxies as well as findings of local election monitors.
The panel of five judges dismissed this purported evidence and said the Central Election Commission (CEC) was right to rule that irregularities reported during the elections were not serious enough to determine their outcome. They also backed the CEC argument that the official vote results are based on precinct protocols that were not challenged by Barev Yerevan.
“All precinct election commissions examined those complaints one by one and made corresponding decisions. None of those decisions was appealed,” Armen Smbatian, the CEC secretary, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) after the announcement of the verdict.
Lusine Petrosian, a Barev Yerevan representative, criticized the ruling, saying that the court failed to properly examine the submitted documents.
Just one hour after rebuffing Hovannisian’s bloc the Administrative Court opened hearings on a separate appeal lodged by the Armenian National Congress (HAK), another opposition group refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the HHK’s landslide victory.
HAK representatives submitted what they called evidence of 250 instances of serious fraud in one-third of the polling stations across Yerevan. Those included multiple voting for the HHK, vote buying and intimidation of opposition proxies.
The official results gave Barev Yerevan 8.5 percent of the vote and 6 seats in Yerevan’s 55-member municipal council. The HAK fared even worse, winning no council seats at all, according to the CEC.