By Ruzanna Stepanian
Aram Karapetian, a radical opposition leader, said on Thursday that his Nor Zhamanakner (New Times) will also ask Armenia’s Constitutional Court to annul the official results of the parliamentary elections.
According to the preliminary figures released by the Central Election Commission, Nor Zhamanakner won about 3.5 percent of the vote, failing to pass the 5 percent threshold for winning parliament seats under the proportional representation system.
Karapetian said that his party got many more votes, alleging that they were deliberately miscounted by government-controlled election commissions across the country. “The authorities have given our votes to other pro-government parties,” he told a news conference. Nor Zhamanakner will therefore demand a nationwide recount of ballots in its appeal to the Constitutional Court, he added.
The pro-Russian oppositionist showed journalists what appeared to be evidence of a huge discrepancy between official results registered in a precinct in Charentsavan, a small town in central Armenia. According to the vote protocol released by the precinct commission, Nor Zhamanakner polled 111 votes there. However, the CEC data showed it getting only ten votes.
Also planning to appeal the election results in the court are two other opposition parties that will be represented in the newly elected National Assembly. One of them, Orinats Yerkir, is also seeking a vote recount.
Votes are currently being recounted only in some of the country’s 41 single-mandate districts. In one of them, covering much of the Aragatsotn province, the recount has found that a large number of ballots marked for opposition parties, including Nor Zhamanakner, were actually added to the vote tallies of the governing Republican Party (HHK) and other pro-government contenders.
Karapetian repeated his and other radical oppositionists’ allegations that the Armenian authorities also rigged the elections by issuing fake passports in the name of more than 400,000 voters absent from the country. He said those passports were given to other citizens who were bribed to vote for the HHK and the pro-presidential Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK).
The Armenia authorities have shrugged off the allegations, insisting that the elections were free and fair. International observers have similarly concluded that they largely met democratic standards.
In a written statement, the HHK said on Thursday that the conduct of the May 12 vote testified to the “irreversibility of democratic processes” in the country. The statement also thanked those Armenians who voted for the HHK.
(Photolur photo: Aram Karapetian.)