An estimated 50,000 to 100,000 supporters of Armenia’s opposition rallied in central Yerevan on October 25, and opposition leaders called a follow-up rally for November 1. The rallies are meant to support the five-party opposition coalition’s petition to the Constitutional Court to annul the September 22 presidential election and order a repeat of the balloting. The opposition’s joint candidate, Vazgen Manukian, submitted the petition to the Court on October 24 along with nearly 500 pages of documents intended as evidence of vote-rigging and other violations of the law. Under the law, the Court must begin hearings within 12 days after the petition’s submission, and render a verdict within a month. The five parties announced a boycott of next month’s local elections on the grounds that current conditions in Armenia make it impossible to hold a fair and democratic balloting. Other opposition groups have announced similar decisions. (Noyan-Tapan, Interfax, Western agencies, October 25 through 27)
The appeal is intended to demonstrate that the opposition adheres to due process of law, and also responds to recommendations of the OSCE and other Western forums. However, the Court is believed to be politically loyal to President Levon Ter-Petrosian and is therefore expected to validate the election irrespective of the evidence of fraud. In a press interview published over the weekend, the president insisted on describing the opposition — or major components of it — as "fascist." (Respublika Armenia, October 26)
Tajik Opposition Shows Strength in Karategin.