Election Body Dismisses Opposition Demand to Scrap Referendum

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Central Election Commission (CEC) on Wednesday said that opposition deman’s to invalidate the official results of Armenia’s constitutional referendum are unlawful.

A group of about 20 opposition parties gave the CEC until Friday to scrap the allegedly fraudulent vote or face more street protests in Yerevan.

The commission secretary–Tsovinar Khachatrian said that under Armenia’s law about referendums–the CEC can not consider any appeals after approving final vote results. The CEC formalized the adoption of the constitutional amendmen’s put forward by the government on Tuesday.

According to its final vote tally–nearly two thirds of Armenia’s 2.3 million eligible voters took part in Sunday’s referendum and over 93 percent of them voted for the amendmen’s. Local observers and a monitoring mission from the Council of Europe cast doubt on the credibility of the official high voter turnout.

Khachatrian stressed that the opposition can now take their case only to the Constitutional Court. But opposition leaders ruled out such an option.

"We gave 72 hours not to the Central Election Commission but to the entire government. Let them find legal ways of addressing our demand," said Vazgen Manukian–an opposition leader.

It is not clear what exactly the opposition will do if the authorities refuse to give in. The rallies it has held so far have not been big enough to be considered threatening.

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