Notes From Hairenik

Well the presidential election results are in. As of 7:00 am today the number of ballots cast for candidates were the following, according to the Central Election Commission of Armenia:

Artur Baghdasarian – 256,686 votes

Artashes Geghamian – 6,999 votes

Tigran Karapetyan – 9,065 votes

Aram Harutyunyan – 2,911 votes

Vahan Hovhannisian – 94,896 votes

Vazgen Manukyan – 19,446 votes

Arman Melikyan – 4,082 votes

Serge Sargsyan – 812,492 votes

Levon Ter-Petrossian – 382,371 votes

Only 3,622 inaccuracies were recorded.

Two of the candidates, namely Harutyunyan and Melikyan, are virtual unknowns yet considering their lack of popularity they managed to collect a modest number of votes. I wrote about the other candidates in a previous post.

I visited about a dozen voting stations during election day in different parts of the city. I can safely say that I did not witness any incidents of foul play anywhere in Yerevan’s Gentron (central) district. In Erebuni things were just starting to get out of control as the crowd became rowdy at the station I visited. During the presidential elections people were allowed to vote in the main lobby there, but yesterday they were required to climb a flight of stairs for some reason. Voters apparently were waiting a while to register and receive their ballot, and police officers were on hand to calm the crowds—there must have been close to 50 people standing rather impatiently in line. In other parts of Erebuni, one of Yerevan’s roughest parts of town, there were beatings being reported.

Various news services such as Hetq Online, A1 Plus, and RFE/RL reported incidents of violence, intimidation, and vote buying occurring throughout Armenia. Apparently 5,000 dram or about $16 bribe payments were given to voters by Republican party supporters so that they would vote for the party’s leader Prime Minister Serge Sargsyan. He ended up winning 55-57 percent of the votes cast, depending on the news source you read.

The ARF-Dashnakstutiun’s candidate Vahan Hovhannisian unfortunately fared poorly, winning about 6 percent of the votes. Artur Baghdasarian came in second place with about 17.3 percent and Levon Ter-Petrossian with 18.9 to 21.5 percent, again depending on the news source. I found three or four conflicting results being revealed.

As of this morning I didn’t see any televised complaints from the losing candidates and did not read any statements made online. There will be an opposition rally at 3:00 pm today, which I hope to attend. Perhaps no one can forecast how many people will show up, but things were pretty calm on the streets of central Yerevan last night. And this morning it was business as usual with people running off to work and students rushing to class. It was as if everyone were expecting Sargsyan’s win, simply giving into the inevitable. Needless to say, I don’t expect revolution on the horizon. More to come later on (hopefully).

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