Election 2012: Armenian Main Opposition Parties Unanimously Decry Ou

Lilit Gevorgyan

Global Insight
May 14, 2012

In a rare move, three main Armenian opposition forces issued a joint
statement on 11 May slamming the outcome of the parliamentary election
on 6 May. The former junior governing coalition member Prosperous
Armenia (BHK), Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF-Dashnaktsutiun)
and the Armenian National Congress (ANC) uniting 18 parties and led
by former president Levon Ter-Petrossian in a statement said that the
“parliament formulated as a result of these elections does not reflect
the real picture of support given to various political forces by the
people.” The opposition forces stated that the election results were
rigged and vote-buying was widely practiced.

They pledged to continue “joint efforts to change this flawed system”.

ANC, BHK and ARF had signed a document prior to the election and set
up a joint monitoring body to preclude election fraud. The ruling
Republican Party (HK) has emerged with better results compared to the
last legislative vote in 2007. It secured 44% of the total vote which,
combined with the number of seats won in “first past the post” by HK
members gives the presidential party 68 out 131 mandates. Following
the elections the EU’s chief diplomat Catherine Ashton and Enlargement
Commissioner Stefan Fuele welcomed the progress made, especially in
terms of improved conditions for campaigning but they too expressed
their concern with the shortcomings on the election day which did not
allow the vote to meet international standards (seeArmenia – Europe:
10 May 2012:).

Significance:A joint statement by the three key opposition forces
is a rare show of unity. The collaboration between ARF and ANC
is particularly noteworthy as the ARF for over a decade has had a
strong position regarding Ter-Petrossian, who banned ARF during his
presidency in 1994 and accused the party of harbouring a group plotting
a coup. The ban was lifted in 1998 and two jailed ARF leaders were
released but the damage lingered. The latest tripartite statement
and the pledge to work together is a positive step forward as the
opposition forces are ready to move past their narrow grievances and
collaborate in terms of improving the quality of the vote. However,
the allegations that BHK, one of the co-signers of the statement, was
also involved in vote buying and using charitable projects to boost
its support, poses an additional challenge for the opposition. With
the crucial presidential election approaching in 2013, Armenia’s
political scene is likely to remain vibrant. The opposition’s efforts
to ensure the end of vote buying is a welcome step forward.

From: A. Papazian

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