VOTE 2012: PARTIES EVALUATE ELECTIONS FROM "FAIREST EVER" TO "HEINOUSLY CRIMINAL"
By Naira Hayrumyan

ArmeniaNow
10.05.12 | 12:40

NAZIK ARMENAKYAN

Armenian Parliament Speaker representing the ruling Republican Party
Samvel Nikoyan said the other day that the Armenian people have not
seen such fair elections as the May 6 parliamentary elections.

"Remember how it used to be in the past? Sometimes they would steel
the ballot box or the lights would go out. Now normal elections have
been held, and if the society felt that their voice did not reach
the goal, they would have come out to the street," said Nikoyan.

Indeed, no one took to the street after the parliamentary elections on
May 6. Perhaps because all of the main political forces have entered
the parliament as a result of the vote.

However, for several days after the elections the parties chose
not to express their opinion on the conduct of the election. Then,
one after another they began to issue statements which, as a rule,
point out violations, but none has stated it would give up seats in
the future parliament.

Speaking at a rally on May 8, the leader of the Armenian National
Congress (ANC) Levon Ter-Petrosyan said that everyone will soon become
witness to true parliamentarianism represented by the future factions
of the opposition bloc in the National Assembly. At the same time,
ANC coordinator Levon Zurabyan said that the May 6 election can be
considered fraudulent.

"We estimate that up to 600,000 votes have been stuffed," said
Zurabyan. "Moreover, 500,000 in favor of the Republican Party. From
now on we will start to gather under the Congress banner honest,
principled, incorruptible people to declare war against that power. We
must fight on all fronts, and on the streets and in parliament."

The "street" opposition, ANC, has got seven seats in the National
Assembly as it narrowly cleared the seven-percent hurdle put in place
by law for election blocs. The opposition Heritage party got five
seats, which is two less than in the 2007-2011 Assembly.

In its statement Heritage said the scale of vote buying and
pseudo-charity reached monstrous proportions, and they had an
unprecedented impact on the outcome of the election. However, the
party would not give up its seats as a protest.

The use of administrative resources by the power created unequal
conditions for the parties, people residing in provinces were
temporarily registered in Yerevan en masse, there are suspicions that
by means of manipulation at police visa departments these people were
given an opportunity to vote several times, for which ink evaporating
sooner than expected was used, said Heritage in the statement.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) Executive
Council of Armenia issued a statement saying that the elections did not
reflect the will of the people and the real correlation of political
forces. It said that members of the ruling coalition registered high
results first of all by means of pervasive administrative tools
and unprecedented financial means resulting in bribery. "Poverty
and the de-politicization of the people secured the reproduction
of the authorities, which acted by means of bribery and pressure,"
the party said in its statement.

The ARF, by the way, is the biggest loser in the May 6 vote, coming
out of it with only a six-member faction, losing a total of 10 seats.

Artur Baghdasaryan, the leader of the coalition member party,
Orinats Yerkir, stated that for the first time elections in Armenia
took place without ballot-box stuffing, fights, and the counting
of votes was conducted transparently, under the supervision of the
participating parties. At the same time, the party of Baghdasaryan,
who used to boast of more than 170,000 members in Orinats Yerkir,
received only 82,690 votes or 5.49 percent.

As for the other coalition party, Prosperous Armenia, the number of its
MPs has increased from 25 to 36. It happened, perhaps, due to the fact
that a month before the election the party began to position itself
as an opposition, or rather an "alternative" to the current main
ruling party. However, after the elections, its billionaire leader
Gagik Tsarukyan in his message did not say a single word typical of
an oppositionist, while only thanking those who voted for the party.

And U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Hilton, as quoted by
the Voice of America, said: "We support the OSCE/ODIHR observers'
mission's conclusion, whereby the elections were "competitive, lively,
and largely peaceful." At the same time we share the OSCE/ODIHR
apprehensions with respect to an "unlevel playing field" during the
pre-election season and on election day, and in regards to buying
votes and applying improper pressure against the constituents."



From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress