Armenian opposition representatives yesterday charged at a news conference that the Constitutional Court "practically covers up the falsification of the presidential election returns" in its handling of the opposition’s petition for a detailed review of those returns. The Court has declined to examine the protocols of individual electoral precincts for suspected fraud, has accepted to hear only one out of more than 60 opposition witnesses, and has blocked access to the records of voting in military units, the opposition plaintiffs said. The government-controlled Central Election Commission, acting as defendant in the case before the Court, is successfully resisting the opposition’s requests to open election records for examination. In its presentation to the Court the CEC also rejected a report by the OSCE’s election monitors, describing it as ill-informed and a reflection only of private opinions. (Noyan-Tapan, Armenpress, Interfax, November 18-19)
OSCE and other international monitors determined that Armenian authorities resorted to fraud in producing a narrow victory for incumbent president Levon Ter-Petrosian in the September 22 election. The opposition has petitioned the Constitutional Court to examine the evidence of fraud, some of which the opposition itself collected and submitted. The Court and the CEC are known to be politically loyal to the president and the ruling party. The opposition is under no illusion on that score, but has pursued this avenue of redress mainly in order to demonstrate its adherence to legal processes after its supporters stormed the parliament and the CEC office to protest the fraud.
Georgian "Zviadists" Sentenced.