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Kocharian’s Bloc To Challenge Election Results In Court


Armenia - Members of a precinct commission in Yerevan count ballots cast in Armenia's parliamentary elections, June 20, 2021.

Former President Robert Kocharian’s main opposition Hayastan alliance said on Monday that it will ask Armenia’s Constitutional Court to overturn the official results of Sunday’s parliamentary elections that gave a landslide victory to the ruling Civil Contract party.

Hayastan reiterated that the results are “extremely dubious.” “We have serious grounds to consider these elections illegitimate,” it said in a statement.

The bloc again charged that irregularities reported by its proxies from many polling stations “testify to a systematic and pre-planned falsification of the election results.” It accused the Armenian authorities of abusing their administrative levers and harassing Hayastan activists to keep Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in power. It also pointed to power outages that plunged much of Armenia into darkness shortly the start of vote counting late on Sunday.

“The Hayastan alliance will use all legal tools, including an appeal to the Constitutional Court, to challenge the election results,” added the statement.

It was announced separately that Kocharian and his close associates will hold a news conference on Tuesday.

ARMENIA -- Former President Robert Kocharian speaks during a campaign rally ahead of the upcoming snap parliamentary election in the town of Aparan, June 10, 2021
ARMENIA -- Former President Robert Kocharian speaks during a campaign rally ahead of the upcoming snap parliamentary election in the town of Aparan, June 10, 2021

Pashinian described the snap election as free and fair when he claimed victory overnight. European observers likewise gave a largely positive assessment of the authorities’ handling of the vote.

According to the official results announced by the Central Election Commission (CEC) on Monday morning, Pashinian’s party won almost 54 percent of the vote and will retain a two-thirds majority in the Armenian parliament.

Kocharian’s bloc came in a distant second with 21 percent, followed by the opposition Pativ Unem alliance led by another ex-president, Serzh Sarkisian, which got 5.2 percent, according to the CEC.

Pativ Unem will have parliament seats despite failing to clear a 7 percent vote threshold because Armenian law stipulates that at least three political forces must be represented in the National Assembly. It did not officially react to the official vote tally by Monday evening.

ARMENIA -- Armenian acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian speaks to his party colleagues after a parliamentary elections in Yerevan, June 21, 2021
ARMENIA -- Armenian acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian speaks to his party colleagues after a parliamentary elections in Yerevan, June 21, 2021

It is expected that the new parliament will have 107 seats and 71 of them will be controlled by Civil Contract. Hayastan and Pativ Unem should have 29 and 7 seats respectively.

The opposition blocs fuelled speculation that they could refuse to take up their seats in protest against the alleged vote rigging. With the Armenian constitution reserving at least one-third of the parliament seats for the opposition, commentators wondered if such a drastic step could hamper the work of the new parliament or call into question its legitimacy.

Speaking at a news conference, the CEC chairman, Tigran Mukuchian, was reluctant to comment on potential legal consequences of an opposition walkout. He said only that Hayastan’s and Pativ Unem’s seats cannot be passed on to other election contenders in that case.

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