Pashinian and the 14 other members of the board were elected by 1,024 delegates of a party congress held in Yerevan on Saturday. Subsequent reports in the Armenia said that some delegates, including senior party figures not elected to the board, demanded a recount because they suspect that the vote results were rigged.
Lawmakers affiliated with Civil Contract and the party spokesman pointedly declined to comment on those suspicions on Thursday morning and afternoon.
Another senior party member, Tigran Avinian, told Factor.am later in the day that the ballots cast for board candidates have been recounted and revealed some “inaccuracies.”
It emerged that two of the newly elected board members, Deputy Prime Minister Hambardzum Matevosian and Civil Contract’s parliamentary leader Hayk Konjorian, got fewer votes than Emergencies Minister Armen Pambukhchian and former Health Minister Arsen Torosian.
The initial vote results showed that Pambukhchian and Torosian did not win enough support to remain in the party leadership. The latter is understood to have been among those who demanded the recount.
Avinian suggested that this was the result of “organizational and technical” issues, rather than deliberate fraud.
“The issue will be discussed at the Civil Contract board meeting tonight,” he said.
Pashinian and his political team claim to have eliminated electoral fraud in Armenia after coming to power in 2018. The prime minister regularly states that power finally “belongs to the people.”
Arayik Harutiunian, the chief of Pashinian’s staff and a former party chairman, denied any vote irregularities at the Civil Contract convention when he spoke to journalists on Wednesday.
“The people elected to the board are the ones for whom most delegates voted,” said Harutiunian. “It’s a bit strange for me that your filters are stuck in 2017. This is the most democratic party that has ever existed in Armenia.”
According to the initial vote results, the new Civil Contract board will comprise several newcomers. At least three of them defected to Pashinian’s party from other political groups after the 2018 regime change. They got more delegate votes than some veteran party figures.