Armenia’s Constitutional Court to assess validity of snap parliamentary elections
On July 9, the Constitutional Court of Armenia began to consider the issue of invalidating the results of the early parliamentary elections of June 20.
After the announcement of the final results, four political forces at once applied to the Constitutional Court:
- Armenia opposition bloc
- Zartonk National Christian Party
- Armenian Motherland party
- I Have the Honor bloc
They demand the recognition of the election results as invalid, carrying a second round of voting, or the redistribution of mandates.
The defendants are the chairman, the secretary and a member of the Central Election Commission, the prosecutor’s office, the police, the Commission on Television and Radio.
The Constitutional Court also attracted a third party – the winning Civil Contract party of acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
- Op-ed: will Armenia’s new parliament consolidate or destabilize the country?
- Ex-president Robert Kocharian: Struggle for power will continue
- Will upcoming elections in Armenia just be a repeat of the past?
There was not enough time for all parties to speak at the first meeting, the hearings will continue. The Constitutional Court must make a decision no later than 15 days from the date of registration of the applications of four parties, that is, until July 17.
Early parliamentary elections were held in Armenia on June 20, 2021. As a result of the voting, three political forces entered the parliament of the eighth convocation: the acting party Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s “Civil Contract”, headed by the ex-President of Armenia Robert Kocharian, the “Armenia” bloc, as well as the “I Have Honor” bloc, whose leader is the ex-head of the National Security Service Artur Vanetsyan. This bloc also includes the party of former Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.
What is Prime Minister accused of
Representative of the “Armenia” bloc Aram Vardevanyan accused the current government and acting head of state Nikol Pashinyan of using administrative resources during the election campaign.
According to Vardevanyan, Nikol Pashinyan, although he was on vacation during the election campaign, used the prime minister’s “benefits” during the entire campaign – “security, hundreds of police officers, official cars”.
The bloc’s representative read for a long time the quotes of “threats” to opponents, sounded during the election campaign from Pashinyan’s lips, and stressed that the prosecutor’s office did not find “crime” in his words.
He also spoke about the massive involvement of schoolchildren in the rallies of the ruling party and accused Nikol Pashinyan of violating the “day of silence.”
Vardevanyan, in particular, recalled that on June 19, the day before the elections, the acting The prime minister went live on Facebook and called on citizens to vote.
Calling the president as a witness
CC judge Hrayr Tovmasyan made a motion to invite the President of Armenia as a witness to find out why the early parliamentary elections were scheduled for June 20:
“The parties in their lawsuits point out that the date may have been chosen deliberately to ensure the advantage of one of the forces.”
Tovmasyan was supported by his colleague Arevik Petrosyan. And judge Vahe Grigoryan asked if the president could answer their questions in writing. Tovmasyan replied that he wanted to hear from the president personally and in the courthouse that no pressure was exerted on him when making a decision.
This argument did not convince Tovmasyan judges Artur Vagharshyan and Yervand Khundkaryan. In order not to interrupt the process of considering the main claim, the Chairman of the Constitutional Court Arman Dilanyan proposed to discuss this issue after the end of the session. Hrayr Tovmasyan has already spoken out against this. He stated that a discussion in this format would be “a violation of the law,” so he would not participate in it.
Protest outside the court
While the Constitutional Court was considering the opposition’s statements demanding to cancel the results of the parliamentary elections, supporters of the current government, represented by the party “For the sake of the Republic”, held a protest in front of the courthouse.
The protesters stated that they would not allow the Constitutional Court to decide in favor of the opposition.
“The Constitutional Court is the most politicized body in Armenia, an institution that has legitimized all the elections rigged in the country over the past years. But today we may not remember this if the Constitutional Court stands next to the people and rejects the claims of the political forces that have appealed to them, ”said one of the protesters.
And the leader of the “For the sake of the Republic” party Arman Babajanyan called on all political forces to come to terms with the results of the June 20 elections:
“We came to warn the Constitutional Court not to even try to make a decision that would encroach on the power of the people.”