A leader of a recently established opposition party says they have managed to “keep” all votes cast for their candidate in Sunday’s mayoral elections in a provincial town. Yet, the incumbent mayor from the ruling party has still won in the election marred by allegations of vote buying and fraud.
“I state with all responsibility that during the elections in the town of Hrazdan we were able to keep every single vote of the citizens who gave it to us,” Nikol Pashinyan, the head of the Civil Contract Party and the chief of opposition mayor candidate Sasun Mikayelyan’s campaign headquarters, told his teammates after the results of the elections in Hrazdan were summed up.
“This seems to be the first election, in which no citizen can say that we have not been able to maintain his or her voice. Let it be even moral, political, but this is a victory,” he said.
Mikayelyan, in turn, said it is very offensive that at such a critical moment [for the country], authorities continue to use vote buying and fraud schemes in elections.
“The authorities, through their structures, are doing everything we have regularly witnessed, but I do not know how to convince the people not to take bribes and refuse to participate in fraud,” he said.
Mikaelyan, however, said that he does not fall into despair, and he did not come to become mayor. He just wanted to save people from that situation.
“I don’t know the way out of this situation, but have a request that a person who follows an idea must never lose hope,” he added.
According to the preliminary results published by the Central Electoral Commission, 12,510 citizens voted for incumbent mayor Aram Danielyan representing the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), while 10,267 people casted their ballots for Mikayelyan.
Mikayelyan, before being elected to the National Assembly in the 2000s, was the mayor of Hrazdan. During the presidential election of 2008 he supported Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s candidacy, then was deprived of his mandate and imprisoned in the case concerning the post-election clashes that year.
Many representatives and proxies of the Civil Contract party, following the election process, reported numerous violations through the websites of v6000.am and realelections.am.
The political party’s representatives and proxies were reported on the discrepancy between the number of ballot stubs and voters who participated in the vote, as well as between the number of ballots and signatures.
They were also reporting on electoral bribes, violation of the secrecy of voting, falsification of election results, and large gatherings at polling stations.
Civil Contract believes it is possible to ensure “real elections” in Armenia by deploying at general elections at least 6,000 proxies to cover all 2,000 or so polling stations across Armenia.
Along with the Hrazdan mayoral elections, local elections were also held in a number of other communities, including the towns of Talin, and Spitak, as well as in the village of Kanakeravan, where RPA-affiliated incumbent heads were reelected.