candidate Artashes Geghamyan has removed himself
from any participation in next Wednesday's runoff,
but the veteran politician by no means left the
Late Monday, Geghamyan, whose 17 percent in the
first round of voting is thought to have potential
influence on the runoff between President Robert
Kocharyan and Stepan Demirchyan, made statements
that surprised and likely disappointed his Opposition
Geghamyan announced that he would not give his
support to either candidate, claiming that the
initial vote was rigged by the President to face
Demirchyan because Kocharyan knew he would face
"inevitable defeat" in a runoff with
But it is a much more inflammatory comment from
Geghamyan that drew reaction from the Opposition.
"The incumbent Armenian authorities know
perfectly well that they will be executed by firing
squad if the opposition wins," Geghamyan
said, adding: "Everything was done to prevent
me entering the second round of the elections,
although it was Artashes Geghamyan who was the
guarantor that no blood would be shed in Armenia."
The latter comment drew sharp reaction from Demirchyan
"Our candidate has never said anything about
physical reprisals," said Demirchyan campaign
manager Grigor Harutyunyan, who called Geghamyan's
"I share Mr. Geghamyan's view on mass irregularities,"
Aram Sargsyan of the pro-Demirchyan Hanrapetutyun
party told Radio Free Europe (www.armenialiberty.org).
"On this issue (of potential violence) Artashes
Geghamyan has gone too far. I don't like his reference
to some bi-lateral clans. It's too emotional."
Today Geghamyan said he will appeal to the Central
Election Commission to have the election declared
invalid and if he is not satisfied with the CEC's
response will take his claim to Constitutional
Meanwhile lesser-know candidate Aram Harutyunyan,
who got less than one percent of last Wednesday's
vote said he will not support Demirchyan.
Much of Monday and Tuesday's attention focused
on specifics surrounding the arrests of several
dozen Demirchyan supporters.
Ministry of Justice says 99 people have been arrested
in Yerevan and surrounding regions. Demirchyan
headquarters claimed more than 130 arrests have
been made in the past two days, and that those
taken into custody include members of the Demirchyan
campaign staff. Some were arrested then released,
while 33 remain in custody, according to "Tanik"
a Non-Governmental Organization dealing with judicial
and human rights issues.
The arrests were for "holliganism",
for insulting police and for participation in
a non-sanctioned public demonstration. (The head
of the Yerevan Municipality legal department told
ArmeniaNow that only in cases in which an organization
wants to have streets closed or use police for
crowd control is it necessary to apply for a city
Those detained face up to 15 days in jail and
will not be allowed to vote next Wednesday.
The majority of the detained are said to be Demirchyan
At a press conference today, Ashot Bleyan, director
of Tanik said those in custody are being held
illegally, as some were not allowed to attend
their own trials and some were not allowed attorney
"The judge announced to everybody that he
himself is violating the law by having closed
trial sessions and that he will do whatever he
wants to," said Parliament Member Arshak
Sadoyan, who spoke to the presiding judge on behalf
of the arrested.
Republican Party member Armen Mkrtchyan, head
of Arabkir electoral committee said police came
to his house early in the morning Sunday to arrest
him. Mkrtchyan said he called journalists and
when television reporters appeared the police
"What is happening in the post-election
period can be described as state terrorism,"
says Avetik Ishkhanyan, head of the Armenian Committee
of Helsinki, who is now trying to protect people's
rights through participating in the juridical
"Sometimes they are being taken to the
police departments, threatened and then set free.
Sometimes they are being arrested or subjected
to administrative fines. There are many cases
of people not sleeping at their homes, they just
escape. There are also cases when relatives do
not know where their children are. Yesterday a
villager from Vedi addressed me telling that it
had been three days he didn't know where his son
was. The police took him away and the place where
he was taken is unknown."
Ministry of Justice spokesman Ara Saghatelyan
denied any political motivation in the arrests,
citing Article 180 of the Code on Administrative
In other election-related news Tuesday, U.S.
Ambassador John Ordway said his Embassy shares
the views of the OSCE report on election violations.
However, Ordway denied that the US had announced
that in case of five percent violations it would
not recognize the elections as legitimate.
(ArmeniaNow reporter Zhanna Alexanyan contributed
to this report.)