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Armenia: election of the Parliament

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 PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 9:46 pm    Post subject: Armenia: election of the Parliament Reply with quote Back to top

Armenia's Central Election Commission said May 13 that five parties have been elected to parliament. According to election results, the Republican Party of Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisyan received 33.8 percent of the vote, Prosperous Armenia gained 15.1 percent and Dashnaktsutyun received 13.1 percent; opposition parties Orinats Yerkir and Heritage got 7 percent and 6 percent, respectively. More than 2 million voters cast their ballots in the May 12 legislative polls, in which 21 parties and one coalition were competing for 131 seats.
Below please find vote results:
Republican Party of Armenian 387,522
Prosperous Armenia Party 169,837
ARF Dashnaktsutyun 149,670
Orinats Yerkir Party 78,374
United Labor Party 49,389
Dashink Party 27,823
National Unity Party 41,007
Heritage Party 56,065
Republic Party 18,524
People’s Party 29,916
New Times Party 36,647
People’s Party of Armenia 19,339
Impeachment block 13,154
Communist Party 7,261
National Democratic Party 6,585
Democratic Way Party 6,113
National Consent Party 41,007
Democratic Party of Armenia 2,901
Christian-Democratic Revival Party 2,780
Marxist Party of Armenia 2,365
United Liberal National Party 2,078
Youth Party 1,852
Hnchakyan Social-Democratic Party 792

MOSCOW: Parliamentary elections in Armenia largely complied with international standards, marking the first positive assessment of an election in the former Soviet state since it gained independence in 1991, Western election observers said Sunday.
A coalition of pro-government parties took a strong majority in the 131-seat National Assembly, according to preliminary election results, giving a victory to Prime Minister Serge Sargsyan, who is regarded as the principal contender in the presidential race next year.
Elections in much of the former Soviet space have routinely been rigged since the collapse of communism. The results announced Sunday in Yerevan, the Armenian capital, came after intense diplomatic pressure against Armenia to avoid another flawed poll. The United States had threatened to withhold foreign aid if serious irregularities were repeated, while the European Union had said it would scale back its relations.
Opposition parties held public rallies during the campaign without police harassment and were allowed free air time on public television - signs of an open campaign that have often been suppressed in other former Soviet states.
"We saw the way in which serious efforts by the authorities to address problems that marred previous elections can result in a healthier election campaign," said Boris Frlec, the head of the long-term observer mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Sargsyan hailed the results and the observers' assessment.
"I am happy that the international observers have acknowledged that these were the best elections ever held in Armenia in its 15 years of independence," he said in an e-mail message.
While the observers commended an improvement from past elections, they noted that shortfalls remain and that there were isolated reports of fraud and double voting. Opposition parties said that many votes had been bought.
A small protest began in the capital as opposition parties claimed to have evidence of irregularities. There were no immediate reports of arrests or violence, and the protest quickly fizzled in the rain.

Read also: russian News and Information Agency

Associated Press
Sunday, May 13, 2007 (Yerevan)
Armenia voted for a new parliament Saturday in elections dominated by concerns about economic issues in the poor and landlocked ex-Soviet republic and by opposition fears that officials will falsify the results.

All 131 seats in the National Assembly are to be filled, 90 to be chosen according to proportions that parties get nationwide and 41 in single-mandate contests. Preliminary results were expected Monday.

The last parliamentary election, in 2003, was assessed by Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe observers as falling short of international democratic standards.

But a preliminary report from the OSCE's elections-monitoring office on this year's campaign did not point to significant problems.

National media reports on the campaign have been ''generally devoid of negative reporting,'' the report said. The OSCE frequently criticizes elections in post-Soviet countries for media reports that either ignore opposition forces or portray them unfairly.

However, the report did raise concerns about one pre-election report, when a newspaper obtained a secretly recorded tape of a conversation between the leader of the Orinats Yerkir opposition party and a British Embassy official.

The party leader, Artur Bagdasarian, reportedly says he is seeking to have the international community give a poor assessment of the vote.

President Robert Kocharian subsequently said Bagdasarian's comments could be considered as treason.

Bagdasarian on Saturday said, ''We already have signals of violations,'' including the disappearance of ballots. After the polls closed, prosecutor-general's office spokeswoman Sona Truzian said 10 written complaints of violations had been received.

Opinion polls indicate the top parties are likely to be Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian's Republican Party and the Prosperous Armenia Party, each appearing positioned to get about 30 percent of the vote.

Prosperous Armenia is a comparatively new player on the political scene, having been formed in 2004, and its origins are unclear. Some observers suggest it was formed at Kocharian's initiative as a way to have a counterbalance to the Republican Party.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation, which has been the Republican Party's partner in forming a parliamentary majority, is seen as likely getting third place.

Final turnout figures showed 1.37 million people voted, a 59.4-percent turnout, election officials said.

Years of political infighting and election violations in the past have fed voter apathy. ''People have lost faith that their votes actually decide who will be elected,'' Susanna Dalakian, a music teacher, said after voting.

All the main parties call for addressing economic and social problems, including finding ways to increase the population of about 2.9 million. The population has dropped sharply in the post-Soviet period as the birthrate declined and an estimated 900,000 people emigrated, largely due to economic problems.

The tiny South Caucasus nation has few natural resources and its economic development is restricted by the closing of its borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey, both of which were shut in protest against ethnic Armenian troops taking control of Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory in Azerbaijan, during a six-year conflict in the early 1990s.

Armenia refused to grant visas to eight Turkish observers who wanted to come as part of the OSCE's election mission.

Police clashed with opposition demonstrators at a gathering in the capital, Yerevan, this week, and activists have promised to take to the streets if authorities manipulate the election results.

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