U.S. slams Armenian by-elections amid raging indifference of voters

The U.S. Embassy in Yerevan on Thursday denounced as fraudulent a weekend by-election to Armenia’s parliament and urged the authorities to prosecute those responsible for “numerous irregularities” witnessed by American and local observers, RFE/RL Armenian service reports. “Embassy observers found numerous irregularities, including intimidation of voters, verbal and physical threats directed at journalists and observers, and in some cases the presence of uncredentialled, non-voting individuals sympathetic to the National Unity Party candidate, who appeared to be managing the electoral process in lieu of the authorized members of the local electoral commissions,” the embassy spokesman, Thomas Mittnacht, told RFE/RL. Continue reading “U.S. slams Armenian by-elections amid raging indifference of voters”

One more pointless election over

Parliamentary by-elections in Yerevan, 10Jan2010
Parliamentary by-elections in Yerevan, 10Jan2010 Photolur photo via RFE/RL

January 10 saw another disgraceful elections in Armenia with violations, voter bribing and intimidation on the one side, and very low voter participation on the other. People are increasingly loosing patience and hope with the electoral process in Armenia. Opposition is crying fowl, while a little known man with no political past – Ara Simonian wins a landslide victory, defeating jailed editor Nikol Pashinian – one of the most recognized opposition leaders, a charismatic figure, whose name is synonymous to the unprecedented rise and revitalization of the opposition movement in the wake of 2008 presidential elections in Armenia. Continue reading “One more pointless election over”

Podcast: Post-Election comments from bloggers

Podcast Yerevan municipal elections took place on May 31st. The preliminary results were published next morning. President Serzh Sargsian’s ruling Republican party received 47.37 percent of the vote. “Bargavach Armenia” (Prosperous Armenia) party and Armenian National Congress received enough votes to secure their place in city’s elderly council, but Armenian National Congress said they’ll boycott the Elderly council in sign of protest against vote irragularities.
You can download the short, 5 minute mp3 version of the radio program/podcast from here or listen to it online by clicking the player icon below. A full Armenian language text-version of the podcast is available at E-channel.

 

Republicans score a landslide win, Beglaryan "elected" mayor of Yerevan

Gagik Beglaryan answers journalist's questions after casting his ballot. Photolur Photo
Gagik Beglaryan answers journalists' questions after casting his ballot. Photolur Photo

Central Electoral Commission publicised the preliminary results of Yerevan’s municipal elections. Accordingly, the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) has received 47,39 percent of the vote, which gives the party more than 50 percent of the sits in the elderly council, which, according to the law, automatically makes the acting mayor of Yerevan Gagik Beglaryan, the candidate occupying the 1st slot on Party’s proportional list,  an elected mayor of Yerevan.
“Prosperous Armenia” party comes a distant second with 22,71% of the vote, while the main opposition – Armenian National Congress pre-election block finishes third with 17,41%.  Republican party, “Prosperous Armenia” party and Armenian National Congress are the only three political forces able to pass the minimum threshhold defined for entry into the elderly council, which is 7% for political forces and 9% for pre-election blocks.
The opposition claimed widespread violations of law and electoral process, while the police and General Prosecutor issued multiple statements refuting most of those claims.
Spokesperson for Armenian National Congress Levon Zurabian invited a press conference on Sunday, 1 hour after the polling stations closed, in which he described the elections as “criminal”.
It seems, that we’re in for a rough ride for the next couple of days, if not for weeks or months, with opposition protesting the election results and the authorities rigorously rejecting cases of fraud, even as a wealth of photo and video evidence emerges.

Key Elections in Yerevan

Armenia — Municipal elections have started in capital Yerevan on Sunday. Voters will elect an elderly council which will in turn elect the Mayor of Yerevan for the first time in over a decade. The elections held on proportional party lists are the most significant political event since the troubled presidential elections in 2008 which ended in violence on the streets of Yerevan.
The tension is high, as elected mayor will represent about half of Armenia’s population and will be in charge of the formidable budget from the largest community in Armenia – Yerevan, where most of the key businesses are located (roughly 50% of Armenia’s economic activity is concentrated in Yerevan according to IMF data). The Yerevan Mayor is thus set to become the most powerful elected executive official after president.
Following a pre-election campaign marred with violence not only between the opposition and the authorities, but also two major pro-government parties: the Republican party and the “Prosperous Armenia”,  (hopefully for good), more than 770 thousand registered voters cast ballots to decide which of the 6 parties and 1 pre-election pact will receive the majority sits in elderly council.
So far everything seems normal – with Public TV of Armenia painting the rosy picture of the most democratic elections in the world, while opposition cries fowl and claims all sorts of violations. Business as usual…

Controversial Ter-Petrosian criticises Armenia-Turkey 'roadmap'

Ter-Petrosian makes his way through the rally
Ter-Petrosian makes his way through the rally © Artur Papyan | http://www.ditord.com

“In a damning indictment of Armenia’s rapprochement with Turkey, opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian accused President Serzh Sarkisian on Friday of scuttling U.S. recognition of the Armenian genocide and gaining nothing in return,” RFE/RL reports. Addressing thousands of supporters rallying in Yerevan, Ter-Petrosian charged that Sarkisian’s apparent acceptance of a joint Turkish-Armenian academic study of the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire amounted to “genocide denial.” Continue reading “Controversial Ter-Petrosian criticises Armenia-Turkey 'roadmap'”

Yerevan's Municipal Elections for Dummies

Elections of the local administration bodies of Yerevan city are scheduled on May 31, 2009. Given the size of Yerevan’s population (over 1 million according to official data on Yerevan municipality website ), which comprises one third of Armenia’s population, and the city’s economic significance (roughly 50% of Armenia’s economic activity is concentrated in Yerevan according to IMF data ), the upcoming elections can be compared to nationwide parliamentary or presidential elections. Continue reading “Yerevan's Municipal Elections for Dummies”

"7 trial" pulled apart, "political" context stripped off

The controversial trial of ex-president Levon Ter-Petrosian’s 7 prominent supporters de-facto ended today – separated into isolated cases by the ruling of judge Mnatsakan Martirosyan. The charge for “usurpation of state authority by force” was dropped, making the now separate cases against the oppositionists more “politically neutral”. RFE/RL carries the news:

The new twist in the so-called “case of the seven” resulted from the newly enacted amendments to Articles 225 and 300 of the Armenian Criminal Code used against the prominent supporters of opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian. The articles deal with provocation of street violence and “usurpation of state authority by force” respectively.

The judge ruled, that the seven oppositionists should stand separate trials for “provoking mass disorders and violence”, while the charge of “usurpation of state authority”, which was the main charge politicizing the case, was dropped. 
While this means, that the trials will continue beyond the deadline of PACE April session, it also means, that the opposition will have fewer arguments in claiming that the seven oppositionists are “political prisoners” at the PACE’s upcoming session.
It will also disperse the “high profile” cloud from the case, making it harder for the society to follow.
All of this looks like a thoroghly considered plan for putting the oppositionists in jail for good (BtW: Shant Harutyunyan’s case had been suspended earlier in March while he undergoes psychiatric examination).
It also signalls the decisive stance of the authorities to punish political dissidence as the country heads into Yerevan’s municipal elections.

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