YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia’s Constitutional Court upheld on Wednesday President Robert Kocharian’s victory in last month’s disputed presidential election.
The court turned down the appeal filed by the main opposition candidate Stepan Demirchian–who claims to have been robbed of a victory. It ruled to "keep unchanged" the March 11 decision by the Central Election Commission (CEC) to declare Kocharian the winner of the two-round election.
The final results of the March 5 second round of voting issued by the CEC showed Kocharian polling 67.5 percent of the vote against Demirchian’s 32.5 percent. The latter has refused to concede defeat.
The court ordered state prosecutors to launch a criminal inquiry into the instances of electoral fraud and submit its results to Armenia’s highest judicial body by May 20.
The court also urged authorities to amend Armenia’s electoral legislation to provide for "votes of confidence" in the event of disputed elections–in an effort to defuse post-election "public confrontations." It did not specify–however–if a vote of confidence would be held for the current case.