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Armenian Constitutional Court Asked To Scrap Election Results


Armenia -- A Constitutional Court hearing in Yerevan, February 11, 2020.

Four opposition groups that participated in Armenia’s recent parliamentary elections appealed to the Constitutional Court on Friday to cancel their official results that gave victory to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s party.

The separate appeals were lodged by the alliances led by former Presidents Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian and two smaller groups that failed to win any seats in the Armenian parliament. They claimed to have submitted evidence of irregularities which seriously affected the outcome of the June 20 elections.

A spokesman for Kocharian’s Hayastan bloc, Aram Vardevanian, again accused Pashinian of abusing his government levers, bullying opposition activists and resorting to “hate speech” during the election campaign and forcing military and security personnel to vote for the ruling Civil Contract party.

Vardevanian said Hayastan’s appeal to the court includes video material and documentary evidence of fraud in official results from 109 precincts where 88,000 Armenians cast ballots on election day. He said the bloc also found discrepancies in documents used during voting in three dozen other precincts.

Speaking at a news conference earlier this week, Kocharian questioned the legality of 200,000 of about 700,000 votes which the Central Election Commission (CEC) says were won by Civil Contract.

Those votes accounted for about 54 percent of the total ballots cast. According to the CEC, Hayastan finished second with 21 percent of the vote, followed by Sarkisian’s Pativ Unem bloc that got 5.2 percent. None of the 22 other election contenders did well enough to be represented in the National Assembly.

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

The CEC rejected on June 27 Hayastan’s and Pativ Unem’s demands to annul the vote results, saying that the opposition blocs failed to present evidence of widespread fraud.

Pashinian has described the snap elections as free and fair. He has cited their largely positive assessment by European election observers mostly deployed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

One of Pashinian’s associates, Alen Simonian, dismissed the opposition appeals to the Constitutional Court as publicity stunts aimed at tarnishing the legitimacy of the ruling party’s victory.

Under Armenian law, the court has to examine the appeals and rule on them within the next 15 days.

In case of agreeing to annul the official results, the court could order the holding of new elections or a second round of voting or change the CEC’s distribution of the new parliament’s 107 seats.

Using a complex legal formula, the CEC has given 71 parliament seats to Pashinian’s party and 29 seats to Kocharian’s bloc. The other opposition force is to get the remaining 7 seats.

Four of the Constitutional Court’s nine judges were installed by the outgoing parliament controlled by Pashinian.

Hayastan’s Vardevanian demanded that one of those judges, Vahe Grigorian, recuse himself from the case. He said Grigorian cannot make impartial decisions because of having represented relatives of protesters killed during Kocharian’s rule in a high-profile trial of the ex-president.

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