The Central Election Commission (CEC) has announced the official final results of Armenia’s April 2 parliamentary elections that gave a landslide victory to President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK).
The CEC said on Sunday that the HHK will control 58 of the 105 seats in the new National Assembly, putting it in a position to single-handedly form a new government. The ruling party won just over 49 percent of the vote, according to the official results.
Businessman Gagik Tsarukian’s alliance will have the second largest parliamentary faction consisting of 31 deputies. The opposition Yelk bloc and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), the HHK’s junior coalition partner, will control 9 and 7 parliament seats respectively.
None of the five other election contenders will be represented in the Armenian parliament. They fell short of the 5 percent and 7 percent vote thresholds set for political parties and blocs by the country’s Electoral Code.
The opposition forces claim that that vote buying was decisive in the HHK’s election victory. An HHK spokesman admitted last week that vote bribes were handed out but insisted that they did not affect the overall results. He argued that the United States and the European Union gave largely positive assessments of the conduct of the ballot.
The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said through a spokesperson last Tuesday that the official vote results reflect “the overall will of the Armenian people.” Armenia’s new parliament was “democratically elected,” she said.
Some Armenian opposition groups have also alleged other serious irregularities such as multiple voting, intimidation of voters by government loyalists, and violations of the secrecy of the ballot. One of them, former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Congress-HZhK alliance, has demanded that the official results be annulled. The CEC rejected the demand as baseless on Sunday.
Ter-Petrosian’s bloc will also appeal to the Constitutional Court.
Under the Armenian constitution, Prime Minister Karen Karapetian and his cabinet will have to step down later this month. HHK representatives have already made clear that Karapetian will be immediately re-appointed as prime minister.
The ruling party also expects to extend his power-sharing arrangement with Dashnaktsutyun. It is not clear whether it will try to reach a similar deal with Tsarukian.