Decision 2013: Thousands rally in Yerevan to back Hovannisian’s claimed election victory

Decision 2013: Thousands rally in Yerevan to back Hovannisian’s claimed election victory


The official runner-up in Armenia’s presidential election, Raffi Hovannisian, who has already declared himself to be president-elect, again gathered his supporters in Yerevan’s Liberty Square on Wednesday to declare his determination to wage a “lengthy” struggle.

The opposition Heritage party leader told thousands of his activists and supporters that he will remain in the square until 2 pm Thursday waiting for President Serzh Sargsyan, the official winner of the Monday vote, whose ruling Republican Party is expected to hold a rally in the same venue tomorrow. Hovannisian said such a meeting would be “for the organization of the transfer of power”.

“This time we will have a real victory that will belong to our people,” stated the opposition leader, who polled about 37 percent of the vote, according to the official results of the presidential ballot announced by the Central Election Commission on Tuesday, in contrast to Sargsyan’s nearly 59 percent.

“Serzh Sargsyan has made a reservation for this square for tomorrow. We will remain here and will meet him here. If he wants, we will have a question-and-answer session, if he wants, we will have a debate. We must stay here till the victory of Armenia,” stressed Hovannisian.

According to media reports, Sargsyan’s Republican Party already now considers cancelling its event in the square scheduled for Thursday in view of Hovannisian’s statements.

Earlier today, a Sargsyan spokesman responded to Hovannisian’s previous offer of a meeting saying that the current head of state was ready to receive him “at any time” convenient to him to discuss what he described as “not quite clear demands” of the opposition challenger.

Meanwhile, joining Hovannisian in Liberty Square tonight were also a number of opposition figures and civil activists who delivered speeches at the rally. Among them was also Nikol Pashinyan, an outspoken oppositionist affiliated with the Armenian National Congress (ANC), who delivered a passionate speech, calling Hovannisian the “elected president”. He said that the elections were again rigged in Armenia, like they were in February 2008. He also stressed that what “this February brings” to Armenia will largely depend on Hovannisian and his team.

“There is no leading the bright people of Armenia to disappointment, they need victory and nothing else. Let’s wish Raffi Hovannisian enough will and wisdom to lead the citizens of Armenia towards a victory,” said Pushinyan.

The Heritage party leader again urged all political parties and the “non-partisan majority” to join him. Two major opposition forces, the ANC and Dashnaktsutyun, have already issued statements condemning fraud in the February 18 elections, but they said nothing about their support to Hovannisian. Hrant Bagratyan, the other opposition candidate who finished a distant third in the election, was not present in Liberty Square either.