Pashinyan’s “Civil Contract” Party claims 54.21 percent of votes, while former president’s Robert Kocharian’s “Armenia” bloc, with 20.89 percent of the votes, challenges election results
BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
For an election that was billed as the “most consequential” in Armenia’s history because of the embarrassing defeat suffered during last fall’s Artsakh War, only 49.4 percent of the registered voters participated in Sunday’s snap elections, which, based on preliminary results, gave Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, under whose watch the war was lost, a significant edge in the votes.
Based on preliminary results published by Armenia’s Central Electoral Commission, with 100 percent of the 1,281,563 votes cast counted, 53.92 percent (66,633 votes) of the electorate voted for Pashinyan’s Civil Contract Party while the Armenia (Hayastan) Alliance, led by former president Robert Kocharian and including the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, garnered 21.04 percent (268,024) of the votes.
Trailing far behind the two were the “I Have Dignity” (Pativ Ounem) bloc led by another of Armenia’s former presidents, Serzh Sarkisian, with 5.23 percent (66,231 votes) and the Prosperous Armenia Party, led by businessman Gagik Tsarukyan, with 3.96 percent (50,414) of the votes.
According to Armenia’s election laws parties need five percent of the votes to enter the parliament, while election alliances need to clear eight percent of votes for seat in the legislature.
Earlier Monday morning local time, Pashinyan claimed victory when only about 225,000 of the votes were counted and proclaimed his “steel mandate,” for which he brandished a hammer during his campaign, as the road map for Armenia’s future.
Kocharian’s Armenia Alliance issued a statement on Monday local time saying that the published results of the parliamentary elections “are highly controversial and do not inspire confidence” and challenged the election results.
“They are in stark contrast to the various manifestations of public life we have witnessed over the past eight months, to all the results of public opinion polls, including international, and finally, to common sense,” said a statement issued by the bloc.
“The very large gatherings by opposition forces during the campaign, the apparent small number of supporters of the regime, the crisis of confidence in the country, indicated the existence of completely different public sentiments,” added the statement.
“The most serious reason for the lack of trust is the hundreds of alarms sounded from different polling stations on the actual election day, which attest to a systematic, pre-planned falsification of the election results,” claimed the Armenia Alliance.
“Taking the aforementioned aspects into consideration, the Armenia (Hayastan) bloc calls for a serious and substantiated investigation into the registered alleged violations, which we have immediately undertaken,” added the bloc in its announcement.
“Since all the problematic matters have not been comprehensively explained and the doubts have not been dispelled, the Armenia bloc does not accept the election results,” said the statement by the Armenia bloc, which was published on its Facebook page.