Republican Party Tightens Its Grip On National Assembly


Aug 27 2007

YEREVAN, AUGUST 27, ARMENPRESS; The governing Republican Party of
prime minister Serzh Sarkisian has further tightened its grip on the
parliament after a member, Khachik Manukian, won the repeat parliament
election on August 26 in a constituency in central Aragatsotn province.

Khachik Manukian, a businessman, was said by the Central Election
Commission (CEC) to have won 16,121 votes of the electoral district
No. 15, which embraces the town of Talin and several surrounding
rural communities.

His major rival, Mnatsakan Mnatsakanian, mayor of Talin, came in
second with 10,067 votes, Gurgen Shahinian, a candidate backed by the
Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) was the third with 7,248 votes.

The vacant seat in the 131-member National Assembly was contested also
by Raffi Hovhanesian, head of the Zharangutyun (Heritage) opposition
party, despite the fact that he had been elected to parliament in the
May 12 elections. However, Raffi Hovhanesian won only 1,220 votes
on August 26 and was the fourth among 6 contenders. Hovhanesian’s
unprecedented move does not run counter to the country’s Electoral

The CEC decided to hold a repeat parliament election in this district
after Khachik Manukian, who was declared the winner of the vote on May
12 amid allegations of vote rigging, made by his main challenger, Talin
mayor Mnatsakan Mnatsakanian, relinquished his parliamentary mandate.

According to CEC figures, the voter turnout on Sunday (August 26)
was almost 61 percent. Out of 60,139 eligible voters only 36,394 went
to the polls on Sunday.

The Republican Party will now directly hold 65 of the 131 seats in the
National Assembly. Forty-one of those seats were won under the system
of proportional representation, while the 23 others in single-member
individual constituencies.

The Armenian National Assembly consists of 131 deputies that are
directly elected every four years.

The Electoral Code, amended in 2005, provides for the deputies to be
elected according to a mixed electoral system. 90 deputies represent
the parties or blocs that have overcome 7% voting threshold in a
single national constituency. They are elected on a proportional basis.

The other 41 deputies were elected from single-mandate constituencies
by means of a one-round majoritarian system. Before the 2005 amendment
of the Electoral Code the distribution of the seats was: 75 seats
available for the majoritarian system and 56 for the proportional.

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