Vote Recount Begins in Several Precincts

YEREVAN (Armenpress)-Election authorities Thursday began a recount of the votes in some election precincts in Armenia. The recount has already revealed a number of violations and is set to last until Sunday night, two days before the Central Election Commission is to announce the final results of the February 19 election.
Harutyun Shahbazian, deputy CEC chairman, said Thursday’s recounting did not produce any serious changes in the overall number of votes received by all nine presidential candidates.
But evidence of serious fraud was found during vote recounts in electoral district 9/31 in central Yerevan. Official vote results from the district’s polling station had shown Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian getting 709 votes. A recount revealed that in reality only 395 local residents voted for him, and that the extra votes added to his tally were taken from other candidates.
Presidential Candidate Vahan Hovannesian seems to have been affected the most by the miscount. Initial figures at polling station 9/31 reported Hovannesian as having received 3 votes. Following the recount, that figure jumped to 120. Meanwhile, Vazken Manougyan, who had initially been reported as having gained no votes in the district, was given 57.
State prosecutors opened a criminal case in connection with the miscounting of ballots and arrested the precinct commission chairman Edward Aghajanyan.
The investigation into the case is being conducted by the Special Investigatory Service of Armenia.

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