Hovannisian Begins Hunger Strike

ARF's Lilit Galstian visits Hovannisian at Liberty Square where he is on a hunger strike

He says “Over my Dead Body” will Sarkisian be inaugurated on April 9

YEREVAN—Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian just said at a barevolution rally on Freedom Square in Yerevan that Serzh Sarkisian will be sworn in as president “over my dead body,” adding that he will start a hunger strike on the square.

“I am starting a hunger strike. I will not eat, and I will not accept deception and threats from anyone,” Hovannisian said.

“If on April 9, Sarkisian takes his fake oath on the Holy Bible, and if the Catholicos desecrates the Bible and blesses the candidate [Sarkisian] who mocks the people, then that will happen over my dead body,” he said.

Until April 9, Sarkisian should accept the demand of the overwhelming majority of the population, recognize the victory of the people, and resign, noted Hovannisian.

Hovannisian also demanded the resignation of all governors. Having appealed to the Constitutional Court to present its verdict on the presidential election, he added, “If the Constitutional Court does not correct its path, we will say goodbye to them too, and we will create our own court on the square.”

Constitutional Court Opens Hearings on Hovannisian’s Appeal

Armenia’s Constitutional Court on Monday opened hearings on Hovannisian’s appeal against official results of Armenia’s February 18 presidential election.

Hovannisian’s representatives presented the court with a 16-page document containing purported evidence of widespread fraud.

The document contains not only instances of alleged violations but also claims that Sarkisian exceeded the legal limit on campaign spending set at 100 million drams ($245,000). It also faults the authorities for refusing to publish the lists of Armenians who went to the polls on February 18 and thus disprove opposition allegations that scores of fake ballots marked for Sarkisian were cast on behalf of Armenians absent from the country, reported RFE/RL.

“The official results of elections held amid public distrust, a widespread sense that their outcome is predetermined and numerous systematic irregularities are not credible and not accepted by the public,” Karen Mezhlumian, a legal counselor to Hovannisian, said in his opening remarks.

The Constitutional Court judges pressed the opposition representatives to demonstrate documentary evidence of fraud. One of them, Felix Tokhian, challenged Mezhlumian to explain why very few election commission members appointed by the Hovannisian campaign formally protested against the official results in their respective communities.

“I know that you had more than 1,000 proxies and about 1,900 commission members. How many of them complained and tried to counter [alleged fraud] in a manner defined by law?” he asked.

The court is due to hand down a verdict on the appeal by Friday.

Hovannisian Denies Claims of President’s Invitation to Talks
Hovannisian strongly denied claims that Sarkisian’s office invited the opposition leader to talks.

Panorama.am quoted the president’s press secretary Armen Arxumanian as saying that Sarkisian’s chief of staff reached out to Hovannisian and invited him to talks with the president over Armenia’s post-election situation.

“Lies and deceit from the [presidential] palace are continuing,” Hovannisian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “Either they will change course or things will be bad for all of us.”

“They are deliberately spreading disinformation. As I have said for many times, I am waiting for Mr. Sarkisian to come here at his convenience and address this issue face to face,” he added.

“We note with regret Mr. Hovannisian’s refusal to examine all outstanding issues comprehensively and in detail,” said Arzumanian. “We can only hope that Mr. Hovannisian has correctly evaluated the situation and is soberly conscious of dangers stemming from the de facto rejection of dialogue.”

“The official results of elections held amid public distrust, a widespread sense that their outcome is predetermined and numerous systematic irregularities are not credible and not accepted by the public,” Karen Mezhlumian, a legal counselor  to Hovannisian, said in his opening remarks.

The Constitutional Court judges pressed the opposition representatives to demonstrate documentary evidence of fraud. One of them, Felix Tokhian, challenged Mezhlumian to explain why very few election commission members appointed by the Hovannisian campaign formally protested against the official results in their respective communities.

“I know that you had more than 1,000 proxies and about 1,900 commission members. How many of them complained and tried to counter [alleged fraud] in a manner defined by law?” he asked.

“The Constitutional Court as well as other courts cannot make decisions on the basis of presumptions,” Tokhian added after hearing no clear answer.

The court is due to hand down a verdict on the appeal by Friday.

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11 Comments

  1. jack said:

    TO BARON RAFFI HOVANNISIAN
    all do respect i congratulate for your effort .how ever it is a known fact,if you can’t speak russian, if you’re not an ex communist ,if you’re not born in Armenia ,if you haven’t met putin or other head of cis countries ,your chance as a u s born candidate doesn’t exist. at least not yet so please get over it and maybe 6 years later things will be bit different

    • Artin said:

      Dude, what are you talking about. Please be more rational (with all respect). He has won the election and he obviously have people’s support.What does being born in Armenia have to do with that. That’s funny because none of the Armenian presidents were born in Armenia. What does Russian have to do here. That is a slavery mentality that Armenians in Armenia used to have and they’re gradually losing it.
      By the way, I’m not a supporter of Raffi Hovanessian and I’m just writing the facts.

  2. A-guy said:

    I am quite disappointed in Raffi’s actions after the election. It appeared he ran a good campaign. Hunger stikes are not going to solve problems. He took a high road going in, he needs to figure out a high road going out. I thought he would have a chance of finding a new way in post election but now he is looking more like everyone else. I don’t mean to make that sound bad, but I was hoping he would turn his loss into something positive for the country.

  3. ԲԺ Իշխան բաբաջանեան said:

    Սիրելի Րաֆֆի
    Դժվար կարողանամ այս անհատական եւ ազգային նամակով իմ կարծիքս բոլորովին բացատրել բայց ամենայն դեպս կը ջանամ ամփոփել:
    Սիրելի Րաֆֆի ձեր ազնվության եւ հայրենասիրության մասին ոչ մի խոսք չկա Բայց եւ այդպես Սովետի եւ մնացորդային կարգերին ծանոթ լինելով, ասեմ որ դեռ դժբախտաբար տեղացիների (նամանավանդ վերնախավի) 30-40 %- ի մոտ դեռ շարունակվում է սուբյեկտիվ (թաքնված) խտրականությունը “Ախբարների” հանդեպ: Դուք թէ “ախբար էք եւ թէ Ամերիկայից”
    Ին կարծիքով ամենաքիչը մեկ սերունդ պետք է որ դա փոխվի:
    Պետքէ զգուշ լինել ձեր հակառակորդները “Սովետաձեվ” հմուտ մարտավարությանբ կարող են ձեզ վարկաբեկել եւ հայրենիքում ձեզ ապակայունության ստեղծող անձ անվանել եւ դա ընդանրապես հայերիս համար ընդունելի չէ
    Եթէ դուք էլ պարոն Տեր-Պետրոսյանի նման շարժվեք մենք շատ կը տուժենք եւ հայերը ձեզ էլ չէն գնահատի?
    Նույնպես զքուշ եղեք ձեր ուշացած նոր կողմնակիցներից, ներսում թէ դրսում կարող են ձեր ժողվրդական նվաճումները High-jack անել եւ ձեզ մատաղ դարձնել:
    Պայքարեցեք խաղաղ քաղակակիրթ ձեւով եւ մնացեք խաղաղ իշխող դասի հետ: Ջանացեք քաղաքականապես դաստիրակել ժողովրդին եւ տնտեսապես բավարարել մասաներին եւ պահպանեք ձեր ձեռք բերված նոր եւ հին նվաճումները:
    Մեր հայաստանի հայրենակիցներին սովորեցրեք որ Սփիւռքը հայրենիքում պետքէ ձայն ունենա եւ դա միայն կթան Կով չէ?
    Շարունակեք ձեր սուրբ եւ խաղաղ պայքարը Ով գիտէ կարող է հոյս լինի 5 տարում կամ 30 տարում հրաշքով Արեւելքում եւ Հայաստանում ժողովրդավարություն լինի:

    Հերոս Կարո Ակիլեանը ասում է որ
    “Իմ Կուսակցությունը իմ երկիրն է”
    Սիրով, իշխան
    ԱՄՆ

  4. zograp said:

    Raffi djan, lav gorts es anum, zguysh exir, hachoxutyun em qez maxtum, du mer verchin huysn es kargavorelu mer hayreniqi kyanqn, mardkants nerkan u apagan, qani vor du toxetsir Ameriakan ir bolor shraylutyunnerov u lav kyanqov u gnatir tsarayelu mer tshvar hayreniqnin u joxovrdin. Joxovurdn qez shat e sirum u hargum, maxtum em qez kanach chanaparh u heru mna xarnakich levonakannerits. Sincerely, gyumretsi Zograp

  5. zohrab said:

    mr raffi i beleive nd like you and i would like to see u presidant
    however i do not want u on hunger strike

  6. Hrag said:

    Although our Easter Lent period started weeks ago I guess its better late then never for our politicians to also jump on board and show support for more than one good cause.

  7. Caroline said:

    I feel like Raffi is missing the boat–and the opportunity and momentum–entirely. This is not about a person. This is about a movement, a country. It means taking baby steps and building partnerships and coalitions, a power base. It means working the system and reworking the system until an open portal is found. Starving yourself is not the answer. I believe that this supposed selfless act cheapens the movement. Why not start with municipal elections? Nation building cannot happen overnight. No one doubts your commitment. Call on those in power in ministries and other posts to resign. Surely they won’t because they put the self before the nation. Why do they? All you need is one brave soul who can look beyond their pocket. One solitary brave soul with a voice to join yours. The walls would then come tumbling down.
    You should also put the nation first. Ask yourself what is more effective: a lucid, coaltion building Raffi, or a weakened, silenced Raffi? It’s a no-brainer. The efficacy of hunger strikes ended with Bobby Sands. At this point in time, a hunger strike is not the answer.

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