Opposition alliances to contest election results

Press conference with the leaders of the Armenia Alliance on June 22 (Photo: Armenia Alliance)

The two opposition alliances elected to the National Assembly during the recent snap election may not take up their mandates in parliament. 

The Civil Contract Party triumphed with 53.92-percent of the vote in the election this past Sunday, renewing its parliamentary majority and securing 71 out of 105 seats in the National Assembly. Following the announcement of the election results, the Armenia Alliance, which came in at distant second with 21.4-percent of the vote, declared that it will challenge the outcome in the Constitutional Court, based on suspicions of a “systematic and pre-planned falsification of the election results.” 

While the Armenia Alliance has yet to decide on its participation in the National Assembly, former president and party leader Robert Kocharyan hinted his support of taking up the mandates during a post-election press conference on June 22. “Parliamentary levers will allow us to work much more actively in other directions,” he said. “Our struggle will become much more intense.” If the alliance accepts its 27 seats, he might cede his seat as he considers himself “a man of the executive branch.” 

Kocharyan acknowledged that the election results were “unexpected” for the alliance, which includes the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) and the Resurgent Armenia party. He speculated that people voted to prevent the return of the previous regimes to power. 

The Civil Contract Party particularly received a high percentage of the vote in rural and border communities. In the southernmost region of Syunik, where the border crisis with Azerbaijan is ongoing, Pashinyan won 53.5-percent of the vote against Kocharyan’s 27.5-percent. Kocharyan upheld that if the campaign period were longer, he would have had the chance to host more town hall meetings with voters in rural regions and increase his rural vote. 

Pashinyan advanced a message of unity during a victory rally on Monday, calling on his political opponents to join him in ending the “unnecessary aggression and feuds” that characterized the polarizing election cycle. For the past two days, Pashinyan has been hosting meetings with representatives from extra-parliamentary forces. 

Nonetheless during the rally Pashinyan revived the imagery of the “steel mandate” that he adopted during his campaign, vowing to employ the mandate to “establish a dictatorship of justice and law in Armenia.” Pashinyan had threatened to wage “political vendettas” against opponents of the 2018 Velvet Revolution that swept him to power and politicians who have called for his resignation since the end of the Artsakh War in November 2020. 

Kocharyan scoffed at Pashinyan’s appeal to unity in light of his confrontational rhetoric. “If they carry on with the same style, the same vendettas and keep up the internal political tensions, then I have no doubts that Armenia will face yet another pre-term election, and it will not take long,” he warned on Tuesday. 

The I Have Honor Alliance, which came in third place in the election with 5.23-percent of the vote, is considering joining the Armenia Alliance in challenging the election results in court. The alliance, consisting of former president Serge Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia and Artur Vanetsyan’s Homeland Party, failed to meet the seven percent electoral threshold necessary for alliances to enter the National Assembly. However, since the Armenian Constitution requires the representation of at least three political parties in parliament, the I Have Honor Alliance can participate with seven seats. 

“Right now we are collecting [evidence of] all violations that occurred during the elections and considering appealing to the Constitutional Court with other forces,” Vanetsyan, former head of the National Security Service, said during a press conference on Wednesday. “Only after the Constitutional Court’s decision will we make a decision on whether or not we accept the election results.”

If the alliance decides to take up its mandates, Vanetsyan, who was the head of the alliance’s candidate list, will accept his seat in the National Assembly. 

A total of 22 political parties and four political alliances participated in the historic snap parliamentary elections, which were organized to end Armenia’s ongoing political crisis in the aftermath of the war. Besides the Civil Contract Party, the Armenia Alliance and the I Have Honor Alliance, none of the other political groupings received enough votes to participate in the distribution of mandates in parliament. 

As the election cycle draws to a close in Armenia, a political crisis has erupted in Artsakh, where citizens have been holding demonstrations since Monday to call for the resignation of President Arayik Harutyunyan. These demands surfaced after Harutyunyan visited Pashinyan’s campaign headquarters on election day and subsequently congratulated him on his electoral success. 

“During and after the war Arayik Harutyunyan betrayed us,” protest participant Davit Minasyan told Hetq. “We are nonpartisan. As friends we decided to gather [in Renaissance Square], to raise our voices in protest. We expect that more people will join us and force Arayik Harutyunyan to resign.” 

Harutyunyan hosted a rally in Stepanakert on Tuesday to address the accusations of treachery leveled against him. “It would be foolish to assume that the current situation gives me pleasure or that I am personally interested in continuing to work and cling to my chair,” he said regarding his justification for refusing to resign. “I simply feel responsible to the people and future generations, so responsible that I will not destroy our statehood through an emotional and short-sighted escape and leave the citizens, including those who demand my resignation, under its ruins.” 

Harutyunyan upheld that the heads of the two Armenian republics are obliged to maintain good relations, regardless of who comes to power in Yerevan or Stepanakert. He noted that he has maintained “political neutrality” throughout the campaign and that, besides Pashinyan, he also met with Gagik Tsarukyan, Hrant Bagratyan, Edmon Marukyan, Aram Sargsyan, Samvel Babayan and others. 

In response to rumors regarding why the presidential residence was not shelled during the 44-day war, Harutyunyan countered that the residence had been empty because he had always been at the frontline, at the most dangerous sections of fighting. 

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian is a staff writer for the Armenian Weekly. Her writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hetq and the Daily Californian. She is pursuing master’s degrees in Journalism and Near Eastern Studies at New York University. A human rights journalist and feminist poet, Lillian's first poetry collection Journey to Tatev was released with Girls on Key Press in spring of 2021.

6 Comments

  1. The popular saying goes if someone falls in the lake he will grab even to a snake you grabbed a eight headed snake you deserved this loss.charlatans that are paid generously were screaming their throats off on the streets of Yerevan eating and smoking drinking Khorovads and poor police across the parliament standing guard away from their family’s and children.i reserve the right to write these words because I was born a tashnag without the membership book and die as one .i have paid my dues in Watertown’s cultural life in the early seventies when there was not a Homenetmen a Hamazkaine.i brought my humble participation and today I am ashamed from these leaders

  2. Both of them are looters, in addition, one of them is a traitor.
    Looters may be punished by incarceration for years. Traitors need one bullet only applied instantaneously or as time may bring.
    Experts in social sciences and judiciary know well who is the worse out of the two.
    1sq.cm of land is more important that looting.
    Citizens in Armenia are in general less patriotic than the diasporans living with survivors who have tasted the bitterness of genocide and loss of vast areas of land. The whole of Artsakh is the jewel of Armenian lands since thousands of years starting with Tigran the Great. Artsakh land with its 14,500 sq. km. will remain historically Armenian property equivalent to ARARAT status.

  3. Time and time again, through he past 18 centuries, history proves that Armenians are incapable to govern themselves. Ancient Persians, Romans, Parthians, 7th century Arabian Fatih invaders, Byzantine Hellenic rulers, Seldjuk turks, Ottoman Turks, old Russian Empire tsars and governors, French military governors in Cilicia and lastly Soviet Russian authorities and post-Soviet Russian Federation officials have all proclaimed the same conclusion: Armenians simply can’t elect competent, strong leaders and fail to govern their country properly. This election is the crown jewel of that theory. Until the people of Armenia learn how to make individual sacrifices and adopt unity and determination to jealously guard the Common Welfare and Progress of the Armenian people and the motherland Armenian Republic and Nagorno Karabagh, there will be no bright, secure future for the Republic of Armenia. I am a 100% certain that if Armenia had decided to join the Russian Federation in Sep 1991 as an autonomous republic within the Russian Federated State, right now Armenia would have been far, far ahead of most ex-Soviet republics including Belarus and Ukraine and the Baltic republics and woud have been 100% safer and military secure from Azeri and Turkish aggression. Why? because the Russian Federation HAS competent, strong leader(s) and a pwerful government that knows very well how to govern, protect its national interests and FORCE unity among the citizens of the Russian federation. That’s all.

    • That’s a funny way of saying: “Every empire in history has wanted the lands of Armenia, and in the last century, Russia built up Turkey even though they committed Genocide against the Armenians, then propped up Turkey’s cousin Azerbaijan against Armenia, and despite Armenians being victorious in Artsakh to determine their own future, Russia still refused to recognize the rights of Armenians and lastly again helped Turkey and Azerbaijan to destroy the ancient homeland of Armenians in Artsakh three decades after continuously arming Azerbaijan.”

      It still amazes me how little respect Armenians have for themselves.

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