The opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) has failed to muster sufficient support in parliament for its appeal to the Constitutional Court against the official results of the December 6 constitutional referendum.
Under Armenian law, the HAK needed the signatures of at least 27 members of the 131-seat National Assembly to ask the court to annul the official results of the disputed vote. Only 19 deputies backed the appeal before the legal deadline for its submission expired on Friday evening.
Among those who refused to sign up to the appeal were deputies representing not only the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) but also the Prosperous Armenia and Dashnaktsutyun parties that are nominally in opposition to President Serzh Sarkisian but support the controversial constitutional amendments proposed by him.
A Dashnaktsutyun lawmaker, Artsvik Minasian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that his party sees no “sufficient grounds” to contest the referendum results showing a strong “Yes” vote for the proposed amendments.
Even so, a lawyer representing the HAK, Tigran Yegorian, tried to deliver a package of documents challenging the referendum outcome to the Constitutional Court. The chief court clerk, Arushan Hakobian, refused to accept it, however, saying that the appeal has to be sent by the parliament in order to be registered by his staff.
Yegorian condemned the rebuff, accusing Hakobian of violating the law.
The HAK decided to take its case to Armenia’s highest court after the Central Election Commission refused on December 13 annul the official vote results.
The HAK and other opposition groups objecting to Sarkisian’s constitutional reform claim that the authorities rigged the referendum. The ruling HHK and hits political allies categorically deny this.