14/05/2007 - Results
It was without surprise that the Republican Party (HKK) led by Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian easily won the general elections that took place on 12th May last. The party won 32.9% of the vote (i.e. +9.4 points in comparison with the last election on 25th May 2003) and came out ahead of Prosperous Armenia (BHK) led by Gagik Tsarukian, which won 14.7% of the vote. Another government party rose above the 5% threshold necessary to enter the Azgayin Zhoghov, the only Chamber in Parliament: the Revolutionary Federation- Dashnaktsutyun led by Samvel Babayan which won 12.7% of the vote (+ 1.3 points). Only two opposition parties will join them: Rule of Law (OE) led by Artur Baghdasarian (6.8%, i.e. - 5,5 points) and the Heritage Party led by former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannissian, 5.8%. However the United Labour Party, member of the outgoing government coalition failed to achieve the 5% limit and only won 4.2% of the vote (-1,5 points).
The Republican Party won 23 of the 41 seats appointed in the majority one round election, Prosperous Armenia 7, the Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun, 1 and Rule of Law 1. The 9 remaining seats were won by independent candidates.
The participation rate rose to 59.9% i.e. +8.8 points in comparison with the previous elections on 25th May 2003.
Before voting started the President of the Republic Robert Kotcharian called on the electorate to support the government parties – and was quick to talk of the threat hanging over the country's stability if the opposition forces won. "If the President of the Republic and Parliament confront each other it is the population that will suffer," he said. The Head of State said that "he had voted for the future of Armenia and the continuation of reforms." "I hope that there will be real opposition forces in Parliament, and not an opposition which represents the interests of foreign states," he declared. In Armenia as in a number of other former USSR states the opposition parties are regularly accused of acting for the interests of western governments.
When the first results were announced Prosperous Armenia said it was surprised by its low score, a reaction shared by the opposition parties. Its leader Gagik Tsarukian nicknamed "Dodi Gago" (Stupid Toad) by his fellow countrymen had made these elections a test with regard to his political future. He has never concealed his desire to run for President in the election that will take place in March 2008.
"The general elections on 12th May heralded a significant improvement in comparison with the previous ones. The electoral campaign was dynamic with wide media coverage," Tone Tingsgaard, member of the observers mission from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). "Some problems remain and extra work must be done to consolidate this democracy," he did say however. 53 local organisations and 6 international missions were present across the country to monitor the general elections. A delegation from the European Parliament comprising 8 MEP's, chaired by Marie Anne Isler Béguin (Greens/ALE), president of the EU-Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan Delegation monitored the election in four towns (Erevan, Gyumri, Hrazdan and Artashat). Germany published a communication on behalf of the EU, of which it is running the presidency until 1st July next, indicating that the general elections on 12th May had been free and transparent "for the most part". "The Presidency of the European Union has seen with satisfaction that major progress has been made but asks Armenia to investigate and solve procedural problems that are still occurring notably with regard to counting and to the infringements observed."
For its part the USA also expressed its satisfaction as far as the election was concerned. Via their Embassy in Erevan they published the following communication: "We share the satisfaction of the international observers. We are proud that our partnership with the government and with the NGO's has enabled these improvements to be achieved."
Finally the chairman of the Electoral Commission Garegin Azaryan said he was pleased with how the elections had occurred. "We can say that we have had positive elections that were held in a calm atmosphere and in line with the law," he maintained.
Comments were different amongst the opposition. Although a spokesperson for the Heritage Party, Hovset Khurshudyan, admitted that the election had been freer than four years ago, Tigran Mkrtchian, the spokesperson for Rule of Law said that these general elections had been marred by electoral fraud. "These elections were the worst we have experienced. The government forces were offering bribes of around 4,000 to 20,000 drams (i.e. between 11 and 56 dollars) to voters outside of the polling stations," he indicated. Rule of Law leader, Artur Baghdasarian, observed "infringements and the disappearance of voting slips."
A crowd of around 3000 opposition supporters rallied on 13th May in a square in the capital Erevan in protest against the electoral infringements.
These general elections were of major importance to Robert Kotcharian, President of the Republic who on several occasions said he wanted to see the present Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian succeed him as Head of State during the next presidential election in March 2008. "If the Republican Party rallies enough votes in these general elections and my party asks me to stand in the presidential election then I shall gladly accept," declared the Prime Minister on the eve of the election. The Republican Party is due to form an alliance with Prosperous Armenia and the Revolutionary Federation in the next government coalition and Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian should stay in office.
General Election Results – 12th May 2007 in Armenia
Participation rate: 59,9%
Source : Armenian Electoral Commission