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Election Body Chief Says No Evidence Attached To Opposition Party’s Appeal


Armenia - Tigran Mukuchian, chairman of the Central Election Commission, 30April, 2017

The application submitted by the opposition Yerkir Tsirani party and demanding the annulment of the results of the Sunday mayoral elections in Yerevan will be considered in due order, according to Tigran Mukuchian, the head of Armenia’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC).

“What we can say now is that we do have such an application, which consists of two sheets of paper, and to which no other materials are attached,” Mukuchian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).

Yerkir Tsirani, led by outspoken government critic Zaruhi Postanjian, submitted the application on Tuesday, alleging widespread violations, including vote buying, guidance of voters, violence against its mayoral candidate and her proxy, and others, committed in the elections in favor of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) and its candidate, incumbent mayor Taron Markarian, that officially polled more than 71 percent in the vote.

Postanjian, whose party finished third in the race with some 8 percent of the vote, personally went to one of HHK campaign offices located in Markarian’s home district of Avan on the day of the voting to expose what she claimed was a vote buying scheme. Along with her daughter, Lilit Drampian, who also acted as her proxy, she was forced out of the HHK premises by police officers called in by ruling party activists.

In a statement released the following day Postanjian claimed violence was used against her and her daughter, who suffered a concussion. She also deplored the lack of response from appropriate law-enforcement bodies to the incident. (Armenia’s Special Investigative Service reported on Wednesday that criminal proceedings have been instituted in connection with the case involving Postanjian).

In its application Yerkir Tsirani stated that “all facts and video materials substantiating the appeal will be submitted to the CEC, if necessary.”

In its application the opposition party, in particular, claimed that “about 10,000 ballot papers had been ticked [in favor of the HHK] before being brought to polling stations.” According to Yerkir Tsirani, those ballot papers that were later given to voters to be cast were made by citizens “invalid” with the use of a second tick. “But hundreds of thousands must have not been aware [of such an opportunity] and failed to invalidate their ballot papers,” the opposition party claimed.

Responding to this allegation, Mukuchian said: “There were about 8,000 ballot papers that were invalidated. Therefore, we cannot speak about 10,000. As for the assumptions, they can be made if there are certain evidential circumstances.”

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