Armenia’s Constitutional Court on November 22 declared the result of the September 22 presidential election valid and rejected the opposition’s petition to invalidate it as fraudulent. The Court’s ruling is final, unappealable, and effective immediately. The opposition had predicted such a ruling by the politicized Court even before the proceedings began, and walked out of the proceedings last week after the Court declined both to subpoena key documents from the Central Election Commission and to hear numerous opposition witnesses.
United Opposition presidential candidate Vazgen Manukian and other leaders of opposition parties stated in the wake of the ruling that their goals in petitioning the Court had been: to offer the government and the Court an opportunity to address the issue of electoral fraud, to publicize the opposition’s case before internal and international opinion, and to prove the opposition’s adherence to legal processes after the September 25 storming of the parliament by opposition supporters.
The opposition intends to continue demanding a repeat election. At an opposition rally in central Yerevan, Manukian warned that the government has a choice of meeting that request or facing a revolution. The National Self-Determination Union, Paruir Hayrikian, for its part continued advocating strict reliance on legal methods and proposed an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. This potential rift within the opposition has been apparent ever since the government’s post-election crackdown on opposition parties. The opposition leaders are, however, at one in asserting that the Constitutional Court’s verdict does not legitimize the fraudulent presidential election. (Noyan-Tapan, Armenpress, Interfax, November 22-25)
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